Uphill battle for new gun laws in SC

Reality Check

Right now you can find dozens of bills in the South Carolina legislature relating to stricter gun laws. In most cases they have simply been drafted, and proposed.

Only one of them has even gotten a subcommittee hearing, and that is the one proposed by SC Senator Marlon Kimpson, a Democrat from Charleston, and Senator Greg Gregory, a Republican from Lancaster..

Senate Bill 516 calls for two things:

  1. It gives clerks of court 10 days to report the disposition of a crime to the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED), and 48 hours to report restraining orders, or orders of protection.
  2. Extends the time to complete a background check from three to five days.

“There is no timeliness set forth in our statute for reporting, and there is no consistency,” said Kimpson.

Part two is where Kimpson’s bill could run into resistance with Republicans in Columbia.

The extension of the waiting period is an attempt to close what has become known as the “Charleston Loophole”. A phrase coined in the wake of the Emanuel AME Church shooting in June of 2015.

Supporters of the S. 516 say the Charleston Loophole is what allowed Dylann Roof to get the gun he used to kill nine people. Critics contend a clerical error would have prevented him from being flagged, and the additional wait time would not have made a difference.

“We have to recognize that three days is simply not enough time, so in my view, any extension beyond the three-day period will make our community safer,” Kimpson added.

Beyond his attempts with S. 516, Kimpson says he doesn’t see anything else changing in South Carolina, including bans on so-called assault weapons, or raising the age to buy guns.

“Until the people petition their elected officials for change, in our current climate, and who controls the Statehouse, nothing will happen,” he said.

The Count on 2 Investigators reached out to Governor McMaster’s office to see if he would sign 516 if it made it to his desk, and so far we have not received a response.

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