[image-1] On Tuesday night, with relatively little opposition, members of Charleston City Council became the latest group of local officials in the state to take steps to ban devices that increase the firing rate of legal firearms and urged state politicians to take action to curb gun violence.
A proposal up for a first reading on Tuesday set out to ban “enhanced trigger devices” in the City of Charleston, including bump stocks and trigger cranks. Members of City Council passed that measure 10-1 with West Ashley Councilman Bill Moody casting the single vote in opposition.
Last year, Columbia City Council also passed a measure to ban the devices.
Council also considered a resolution to, among other things, urge state lawmakers to pass “reasonable” gun safety legislation; ramp up penalties for repeat firearm offenders; and consider stronger safety requirements for transport, storage, and sale of guns. (Full proposal below.)
Elected city officials have no purview over the legislature, so the resolution functions only as a symbolic vote in support of the provisions it details. During discussion of the proposal, Mayor John Tecklenburg put some responsibility on his colleagues to pass the measure and then make their support known to the lawmakers they’ve charged with enacting reform.
Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds spoke in support of tightening gun safety laws, referring to first-hand experience in law enforcement seeing young Charlestonians dying from firearm incidents. “This is not some hypothetical thing,” Reynolds said.
“It’s a very difficult issue, particularly here, to do something about it, but at least the petition, I think, sends a good message.”
After a bit of debate about the implications of passing the resolution and amendments to add specific guidance to close the “Charleston Loophole,” council members also pledged support to the resolution.
Calling it a “great feel good resolution” that “doesn’t advocate for anything,” Moody was again the only member who did not vote to support the proposal.
“It’s not a feel good issue,” Reynolds responded. “My fear is that we’ll have an officer-involved shooting. It’s inevitable. Because we’re dealing with these people, they’re violent offenders — by definition they’re prohibited from carrying weapons — we’re arresting them, and nothing’s happening to them.”