Democratic State Sen. Marlon Kimpson of South Carolina is proposing five gun control bills in the state’s legislature in response to the shootings at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston on June 17 that left nine people dead.
Kimpson used the shootings to explain his reasoning for creating the legislation and to show the need for greater restrictions on purchasing firearms and more thorough background checks. While the State Senate does not return to work until January, Kimpson announced that he would still press his Senate colleagues to vote in favor of the five bills.
“I don’t think there is any dispute that there is a direct correlation between weak gun laws and violence,” Kimpson said to South Carolina newspaper The State on Aug. 17. “It is within our power to do something about it.”
In the case of the shooting at AME Church, assailant Dylann Roof was not allowed to own a firearm, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation missed his information when checking through the registration databases online.
Kimpson’s proposals largely focus on an expansion of background checks for all South Carolina citizens. For example, his first proposal aims to eliminate a three-day period that allows firearm purchasers to take home a gun before the state’s background check has been completed on the customer, The State reported. A second proposal expands background checks to different departments of government including the State Law Enforcement Division and the federal background check system.
Like with most proposals on restrictions of gun ownership, Kimpson’s third bill calls for a ban on all assault weapons that are defined as semi-automatic firearms and are meant for rapid fire. In the past, those who have advocated for the banning of such firearms state that those types of guns could never be used for hunting birds or deer, which is the argument of pro-gun rights groups.
State requirements that would force citizens to report lost or stolen firearms and register all their guns constitute the last of Kimpson’s five proposals.
Republicans in the chamber have already indicated their opposition to the measures, and pro-gun rights groups have spent millions of dollars in the past attacking Republicans for supporting proposals such as these.
Kollin Horn, a gun owner residing in the state, felt that the law would only hurt law-abiding citizens who own guns and use them for target practice or hunting.
“If a criminal is going to be a criminal – they obviously don’t care,” he said. “So, making it harder for me or you or anybody else is just going to limit our protection.”