Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Interesting Facts and Figures about South Carolina

Local news reports

While headlines in the gun debate have been dominated by news that guns are now allowed in bars and restaurants serving alcohol, some very important news may have been overlooked: the announcement by the State Law Enforcement Division that 55 dangerously mentally ill South Carolinians were blocked from arming themselves, and an additional 65 dangerous people have had their Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) revoked thanks to an important law passed last year.
After a botched shooting at Ashley Hall in Charleston, the legislature passed - with bipartisan support - the Boland Bill to close a loophole that allowed individuals declared dangerously mentally ill by a South Carolina court to buy guns from licensed dealers.
The law is named for Alice Boland, who passed a background check and bought a gun in Walterboro despite a history of documented mental illness that federally barred her from owning a firearm. Days later, Boland brought the gun to the school and, according to police, was unable to fire it only because she didn't realize the gun was locked.
South Carolina previously had no mechanism to submit these records, so people deemed too dangerous to own guns according to federal law were not denied firearms or a CWP after completing a background check.
What good is a background check if the right records are not in the system?
The Boland Bill fixed this problem and affirms that background checks work - but despite that progress, dangerous people in South Carolina can still buy guns online or at a gun show easily, with no questions asked.
The private sale loophole allows gun buyers to purchase firearms without a background check if the gun is sold by an unlicensed seller.
And we know that criminals are taking advantage of this loophole - a Department of Justice survey found that four out of five inmates in prison for gun charges got their guns through private sales.
I applaud our lawmakers for coming together last year to pass the Boland Bill to get the right records in the background check system - but if no one is running a background check in the first place for online and gun show sales, we're still not doing enough to keep guns out of the wrong hands.
The solution is requiring background checks for all commercial gun sales.
Sixteen states have closed the private sale loophole, and the results speak for themselves - in 2010 in those states, 38 percent fewer women were shot to death by a current or former intimate partner, 39 percent fewer law enforcement officers were killed with handguns, and firearm suicide rates were almost half those in states where the loophole remains in place.
South Carolina ranks first in the nation for the rate of women murdered by men, the majority with a gun, fourth for the rate of law enforcement officers feloniously killed with a gun, and seventh deadliest in the nation for gun homicide.
These are not rankings to be proud of.
It's time for South Carolina legislators to take the next step: Close the private sale loophole and require background checks for all commercial gun sales.


  1. All commercial sales? The first time I thought they misspoke, but saying it twice...

    Commercial sales DO require a background check. What's up with lumping private sales into the term "commercial sales"? Is this a clever trick they're trying to pull to make people think the bill won't cover selling to their brother or their buddy Bubba who they know isn't a felon?

    1. You sound like a conspiracy theorist on coke.

    2. The article also contained a paragraph beginning, "Sixteen states have closed the private sale loophole," so it's clear what they're talking about. Nobody is trying to pull one over on anyone.

    3. Gun Show loophole has been used extensively as a smoke screen for private sales. It's not so hard to believe that someone might try a similar tactic. It didn't work on me, or you, or anyone else engaged in this discussion, but we're not the low information types that think, "Yes! Close the gun show loop hole! What? I can't sell this to my brother without getting a background check on him?"

    4. Yes, you are a paranoid conspiracy theorist. The term gun show loophole was not a sinister plot to trick the uninitiated. It was a catchy phrase to describe what everyone knew it meant. In fact in some places it was enacted into law literally, covering only gun shows. So much for the big conspiracy, huh?

    5. And what about the term Assault Weapon? I suppose that the VPC memos admitting that the category is not so different and is newly invented, but that it has potential to garner public support because of the scary looks of the weapons--that's just a figment of our imagination?

      It's not a matter of being a paranoid conspiracy theorist. Marketers on all sides of all issues choose terminology and spin that they think will win. It's not some great conspiracy--it's right out there in the open.

    6. But we were talking about "gun show loophole." You called it "a smoke screen for private sales," and when I called your bullshit on that you switched to "assault weapon." Nice try.

    7. It was a smoke screen chosen to better market the attempt at eliminating private sales. I brought up "assault weapon" to point out yet another case of picking or inventing a term to push a goal because it was more marketable than the more straightforward statement.

      Calling this a stupid conspiracy theory looks just as silly as it would look if it was me calling it a stupid conspiracy theory to suggest that picking the term "modern sporting rifle" instead of "AR-15" was an example of the pro gun side doing something similar.

    8. Let's say I'm right and you're wrong. The term "gun show loophole" was not designed as a smoke screen. It was simply a catchy phrase to describe what everybody knows means non-FFL sales. What would you call someone who insists there's something more, something sinister to it? I'd call them a conspiracy theorist.

      Besides, what's your point, that you're not a conspiracy nut if there really was a conspiracy?

  2. This is not a report. It's a commentary, and it's likely to fall flat in South Carolina.