• Alisha Petrizzo

South Carolina's gun laws: Will they change?

Due to the recent events in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Oct. 1, the South Carolina government has been receiving pressure from its constituents, with no success as of late, to change the current gun law.

The law that is in effect now secures the right for South Carolina citizens to acquire a gun without needing a permit for purchase. However, in order to carry a concealed weapon into a public atmosphere, a permit is required.

There is also an age restriction on this permit according to the South Carolina Code of Laws, Title 23.

"SLED must issue a permit...to carry a concealable weapon to a resident or qualified nonresident who is at least twenty-one years of age, and who is not prohibited by state law from possessing the weapon," said Section 23-21-315.

James Cavanagh, veteran and owner of Myrtle Beach Guns, brought up how gun shop owners have the right to deny service to anyone. This is called Dealer Denial.

"We have the right, if someone comes in and is either exhibiting signs you feel make you uncomfortable, or they are asking questions that would insinuate that they are planning on doing illegal things, to turn them away," said Cavanagh.

The transportation of a gun is also not limited in South Carolina and, once purchased, it can be moved to a different state.

"Along the line of rifles, shotguns and handguns, there is no law as to crossing state lines with them," said Cavanagh. "You just have to abide by the next state's laws."

There are certain guns that are illegal for the ordinary citizen to possess, though.

Fully automatic weapons, or a gun that will continuously discharge as the shooter is holding the trigger, are not easy to get.

It is legal for people to sell fully automatic weapons in South Carolina, but they must have a license to do so, according to The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, or ATF.

In order to buy them, the purchaser must have a specific license from the ATF and go through an extensive background check.

It could take up to a year before the purchase of a fully automatic weapon is complete, but the firearm has to be made before 1986.

Semi-automatic rifles let off one round per one trigger pull.

As for "assault rifles," those are just rifles that function like regular handguns. Both weapons are semi-automatic.

Some Coastal Carolina University students had their own perspectives to bring forward.

Grace Dreusike, a junior at CCU, does not believe that anyone, that is of age, should be able to go and buy a gun in South Carolina.

"I think this law should be reviewed for a change in the definition of any South Carolina citizen and maybe a permit should be required as well," said Dreusike.

In contrast to this view, Brandon Richardson, a senior at CCU, saw no issue with the law.

"It has worked thus far, and you shouldn't have to change a law just because one person went off in Las Vegas," said Richardson.

There has been a bill in motion since April 2017 that, if passed, will give South Carolina citizens the ability to carry a gun without the need for a permit as long as it is not on private or public-school property.

There is no information on whether this bill was passed or not on the Senate level.

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