Background check bills with bi-partisan support in Statehouse

Reality Check

Even the lawmakers who proposed the handful of bills relating to gun laws in South Carolina will say, they’re not going to solve everything. However, it’s not stopping them from trying.

“It’s incumbent on Democrats to reach out to Republicans, and Republicans to reach out to Democrats to see what we can get passed,” said Sen. Marlon Kimpson, a Democrat from Charleston.

There are two bills in the pipeline to watch.

In the SC House, H. 3248 has bi-partisan support, and that is the only way something will get through the conservative legislature.

Charleston area Republicans Peter McCoy, Mike Sottile, and William Cogswell are sponsors of the bill. So are seven Democrats including Lowcountry Reps. JA Moore, Leon Stavrinakis, and Marvin Pendarvis.

In a nutshell, H. 3248 deals with background checks for gun transfers. It also creates specific deadlines for the courts to report criminal information to the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Right now Kimpson says, there is no requirement on timeliness, and this bill sets that at 10 days. It also requires the courts to report restraining orders with in 48 hours. That way if a background check is done, the information is there.

Another part of 3248 addresses the time it takes for a background check to be complete. Right now, if an instant background check done at a point of purchase is not complete within three days, the law allows the purchase to be completed. This bill extends that window to five days.

Kimspon, and Republican Greg Gregory have a companion bill in the SC Senate, S. 154.

“It’s already pending, it’s already moving, and we could easily pick that bill up and move swiftly,” said Kimpson.

Kimpson believes the people of SC want this to happen, pointing to a Winthrop Poll conducted earlier this year that said 80% of South Carolinians support legislation requiring that a background check be complete before a gun sale is completed.

“90 percent of the background checks come back within the first two minutes,” Kimpson added. “So we’re really talking about less than 10 percent of the people who might have to wait a few more minutes, up to three days under SC law, and we’re hoping to get [up to five days]”.

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