The Senate in the Palmetto State convened a special committee chaired by Sen. Gerald Malloy, D-Hartsville, called the Senate’s Gun Issues Special Committee, to hold a series of four public hearings to receive input from citizens across the state to take a comprehensive look at gun issues in South Carolina.
Malloy said there is no pending gun legislation in the Senate and that the committee would not be voting on anything. He said the purpose of the committee was to hold the hearings solely to gather information from the public about whether changes are needed in the state’s gun laws.
The first three hearings were held in Greenville, Charleston, and Hartsville. The final hearing was held in Columbia on October 27, 2016. An overflow crowd of nearly 200 people attended the final hearing held in the Statehouse to voice their opinions as to whether the state’s gun laws should be reformed. About 60 people spoke at the hearing, with slightly more than half in favor of gun-control legislation.
There were those that spoke in favor of extended background checks, and those that spoke in opposition. Some even suggested that the legislature should push for Constitutional carry and open-carry laws. Many spoke about tougher penalties for gun crimes.
Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, attempted unsuccessfully to push through a measure last legislative session that would have extended the current three-day waiting period for background checks to 28 days. Undeterred, Kimpson vowed to again push for reform to close the so-called “Charleston Loophole.”
“What we heard over the last four meetings, I think, is compelling evidence that the people of South Carolina want comprehensive, expanded background checks,” Kimpson said.
While Kimpson states he is not taking away people’s guns, but is trying to make sure that the government has enough time to properly screen people to prevent those who are unfit from obtaining firearms.
Legislators are able to pre-file legislation for the upcoming session in December.
We will continue to follow this issue when the legislative session begins next year.