By Bob Gatty.
HCDP members and other citizens rallied at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center November 4 to urge the SC State Legislature to enact sensible gun laws. The rally was held across the street from the convention center, where the Myrtle Beach Gun Show was being held.
For a photo album of the rally, please click here.
Led by David Higham, chair of the Horry County Democrats Gun Sense Action Committee, demonstrators promoted closing of the Gun Show Loophole, which allows private vendors to sell firearms to sell weapons to individuals without background checks.
They urged passage of legislation to close another loophole that allows individuals who do undergo background checks to obtain their weapons if the check is not completed within three days. And, they urged stronger controls on the sale of such weapons as the AR-15 and bump stocks, which have been used in mass killings of innocent people.
They also urged gun owners to keep their guns locked and away from children.
The ‘Gun Show Loophole’
The “Gun Show Loophole” allows “prohibited persons”, such as convicted felons, persons with a history of mental illness, domestic violence abusers, and others, to successfully purchase guns and avoid background checks that would otherwise block the sales, said Higham.
“It’s estimated that, nationwide, 20 percent of gun purchases are done without background checks, either by purchasing at gun shows or purchasing on-line,” he added.
Higham pointed out that nineteen states and Washington DC have closed the Gun Show Loophole by requiring private sales to include a background check. “It’s time that South Carolina join in this effort,” he said.
In a 50-state federal study, the Centers for Disease Control found that in the states with the most gun control laws, including laws requiring background checks for private sale of firearms, including gun show sales, far fewer people were shot to death or killed themselves with guns than in the states with the fewest laws.
“Overall, states with the most laws had a 42% lower gun death rate than states with the least number of laws,” Higham stressed, noting that South Carolina has the 10th worst firearm mortality rate, per capita, in the country.
Gun acquisition by many mass shooters would have been impeded if a background check system was universal, effectively operated, and stopped deeply troubled individuals from securing weapons, the Gun Sense Action Committee chair noted.
“Right now, there is nothing to prevent an angry or deranged individual from going into the Convention Center across the street, walk into the gun show and purchase an AR-15 or other similar weapon, and a half-hour later start shooting up the neighborhood McDonald’s. That is simply wrong and needs to be fixed.”
Despite opposition from the National Rifle Association, public support for common-sense gun reforms is high. According to the NY Times (3/24/18) in survey after survey, background checks are the most popular gun control measure, with support frequently over 80 percent. A 2014 Quinnipiac University poll found that 92% of gun owners support requiring background checks on all gun purchases.
“It is time for South Carolina to act,” said Higham. “There are a lot of lives at stake.”