South Carolina – The first week of the legislative session at the South Carolina State House just ended, and one lawmaker is advocating for legislation related to firearm safety in the Palmetto State.
Senator Brad Hutto from District 40 is supporting Senate Bill 848. This bill aims to introduce the South Carolina Omnibus Firearm Safety Act of 2024. This proposed law has many changes to lower the chances of guns getting into the wrong hands or being accessed by kids. A lot of these changes are already being considered in the State House as individual bills.
“If we are going to debate gun safety, let’s have a bill that brings up all aspects of gun safety, even if we only pass some of them. But rather than just have one bill focused on one thing, this focuses on all aspects of gun safety,” Hutto said.
South Carolina is among the states with highest number of gun-related deaths
The Giffords Law Center reports that South Carolina is ranked 9th among the 50 states in terms of gun-related deaths. These deaths include those from domestic violence, suicides, accidental shootings, and others.
Senator Hutto shared data showing that in South Carolina, the rate of gun deaths is 21 per 100,000 people. He believes many of these deaths might have been avoidable. He acknowledges that it’s hard to prevent gun misuse by those with harmful intentions, yet some gun-related incidents could have had better outcomes.
Senator Hutto wants gun owners to be better informed and educated
A key part of his proposed bill is that it would make it mandatory for sellers to inform buyers about how to securely store their firearms, ensuring they are out of children’s reach.
Under Article 12 of Chapter 31, Title 23, police have the power to confiscate a firearm if it’s deemed a risk to someone’s safety.
The bill also proposes to amend sections 16-23-320 and 16-23-430, leading to harsher penalties for having a weapon on school premises.
Additionally, Article 2 of Chapter 23, Title 16 states that all gun sales must include a criminal background check conducted by a licensed dealer.
Senate Bill 848 was officially introduced and assigned to a committee on January 9. While Hutto anticipates some opposition, he sees this as the start of the legislative effort to get the bill passed.