Charleston City Council is set to weigh a resolution on Tuesday that urges “reasonable gun legislation,” as state politicians continue to seem unwilling to advance any new firearm laws in the aftermath of gun deaths here in Charleston and across the nation.
Items before council on Tuesday also include an ordinance that would ban “enhanced trigger devices” like bump stocks and trigger cranks, which can effectively transform legal guns into illegal automatic weapons. The measure was approved earlier this month by the Public Safety Committee, which also added the resolution urging action by state lawmakers.
Bump stocks, a firearm add-on now well known after being used in the mass shooting at a Las Vegas country music festival last October, use a gun’s recoil motion to increase its firing rate. By increasing a gun’s firing speed, the accessory can dramatically increase injuries inflicted by even an untrained shooter if they’re firing into a crowd.
Less than two months after the Las Vegas shooting left 58 people dead and hundreds of others injured, the City of Columbia was the first in the nation to adopt a ban on the use of the devices. Charleston’s proposed ordinance is similar to Columbia’s.
Another proposal before council on Tuesday would give the city’s elected officials a chance to officially register their support for gun reform efforts, citing public safety concerns. As a resolution, the provision would not carry the force of law, but outlines minimum steps local leaders would like state lawmakers to take to beef up S.C. gun laws.
The proposal urges enacting minimum and maximum penalties for gun offenses; increasing requirements for safe sale, storage, and transport of weapons; and raising public awareness of safe gun storage practices. The resolution also urges state lawmakers to allow local governments to adopt laws to try to clamp down on improper access and negligent storage of firearms. The resolution also stipulates that it shouldn’t be construed as diminishing support for the Second Amendment. [pdf-1]
Democratic Charleston-area state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, one of the leading voices for gun reform in the state legislature, says he supports Charleston’s efforts, including the proposal to ban bump stocks.
“Charleston appears to be following the Columbia model, and I hope that other cities will do the same,” Kimpson said Monday.
But Kimpson says he’s skeptical the measure will move the needle after seeing the legislature fail to rally behind more mundane issues like zoning for affordable housing despite resolutions from across the state. “We couldn’t even get the bill out of committee.”
“When it comes to guns, the only thing that is going to make a difference is citizens showing up in Columbia at our offices, committee meetings, and on the state House floor, and demanding that we pass gun reform legislation,” Kimpson says.
Since the Mother Emanuel massacre three years ago, Kimpson has filed legislation to close the “Charleston loophole” by extending the waiting period for a background check to be completed before a gun sale can be legally completed. Kimpson says he’ll continue to pursue bipartisan gun reform when the legislature reconvenes in 2019.
Stay cool. Support City Paper.
City Paper has been bringing the best news, food, arts, music and event coverage to the Holy City since 1997. Support our continued efforts to highlight the best of Charleston with a one-time donation or become a member of the City Paper Club.