SC Politicians and Guns: Profiles in Cowardice

SC New Democrats President Phil NobleBY PHIL NOBLE, SCND PRESIDENT

Twenty school children and their six teachers lay dead in Newtown, Connecticut. The nation mourns. Most everywhere our leaders – in government, churches, schools and even sports – respond to the single burning question: What must we do to keep our children safe – and might that include some sort, any sort, of gun safety measures?

In South Carolina, our state’s political leaders are silent.

And why? After a week of waiting and thinking about this, the only rational explanation seems to be that they are so afraid of the all-powerful gun lobby that they refuse to speak out or to act.

This is rank political cowardice, plain and simple.

A week ago we were all shocked and stunned by the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School. For the first few days, we as a country were numbed by the tragedy. President Obama met with the families, experts offered their advice about how to deal with the tragedy and most of all we prayed. We prayed for the victims and their families and we offered special prayers of thanks that our own children were safe.

And then leaders began to lead. President Obama launched a national initiative to review gun and safety laws to determine what should be done, with a promise of national action and legislation when Congress returns in January. All over the country governors, legislators and mayors (including Joe Riley of Charleston and Keith Summey of North Charleston) did something – whatever they could. All were responding to the same question posed above: What must we do to keep our children safe – and might that include some sort, any sort, of gun safety measures?

Everywhere state political leaders have responded to this question. Except in South Carolina, where a review of our state leaders’ official websites turns up no evidence of any public statements addressing this fundamental issue. None.

  • Gov. Nikki Haley – Seven days after the killings and only in response to a specific request by Gov. Dan Malloy of Connecticut, did she issues a four sentence statement supporting the observance of a national moment of silence. Nothing else.
  • Superintendent of Education Mick Zais – issued a statement expressing sympathy but again, nothing else.
  • Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell – nothing.
  • Attorney General Alan Wilson – nothing.
  • All five other constitutional officers – nothing.
  • Speaker Bobby Harrell – nothing.
  • Senate President Pro Tempore John Courson – nothing.
  • Senate Minority Leader Nikki Setzler – nothing.
  • House Majority Leader Bruce Bannister – nothing.
  • House Minority leader Harry Ott – nothing
  • Potential 2014 statewide candidates – Sen. Vince Sheheen, Sen. Brad Hutto, Sen. Tom Davis, Sen. Larry Grooms – the list goes on and on.

Their silence is deafening.

These politicians routinely issue statements and proclamations on everything from recognizing National Dairy Goat Awareness Week (seriously) to supporting Drink Your Milk Day. But they are all totally silent about these killings and refuse to act when the lives of our children are at stake.

In fact, the most visible response in our state was from Winthrop basketball coach Pat Kelsey, whose sadness and outrage echoed across the county via an internet video and attention from the national news media.

From our state’s political leadership – nothing.

The sad truth is that after years of intimidation, threats and millions of dollars in campaign contributions, the gun lobby has effectively silenced a huge portion of the political leadership in our state. They are simply too afraid for their own political career to do anything…anything at all.

But now, there is some reason for optimism. The Sandy Hook killing was so brutal, so senseless and so revolting that many political leaders in other states are now no longer afraid. Democrats and Republicans that in the past have been all about ”the 2nd Amendment” are now talking about ”reasonable regulation” and ”doing something meaningful.”

Everywhere, that is, but in South Carolina.

There is no reason why Sandy Hook couldn’t happen in South Carolina. It could happen tomorrow. And if it did, then some of the above listed politicians would be in front of every television camera they could find proclaiming their sorrow and outrage. But then it will be too late.

The time to act is now – before it happens again or happens here.

Gov. Haley should immediately convene the above politicians and other political leaders and go to work – right now. If she refuses to do it, any or all of these politicians could take the lead themselves and call the meeting.

Every newspaper in the state should support this call for action. Every parent should contact these politicians and urge them to act.

There is only one message and only one item on the meeting agenda: What must we do to keep our children safe?

To do anything less is simply another profile in cowardice.

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48 Responses to “SC Politicians and Guns: Profiles in Cowardice”

  1. Anne Knight Watson December 21, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

    Well said, Phil Noble, well said. You live up to your name.

    • Anthony Wrifford December 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

      they’re not cowards; they just know their constituency

  2. Monica Goodrich December 21, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    I’m originally from Pittsburgh, Pa. I was absolutely amazed at the mentallity held by the citizens of this state when I moved here. I cannot believe the lack of empathy that comes from SC citizens. The legislators and representatives only care about businesses and money. They give absolutely no consideration to SC citizens. The part that amazes me the most is that it’s ok with residents. It totally amazes me how they are against anything that is a benefit to themselves. I’ve tried now for 10 years to understand where their train-of-thought comes from, but I have finally given up. I don’t think there is any hope for this State to change in any way. It’s really a shame!

    • Anthony Wrifford December 21, 2012 at 4:31 pm #

      When people say “look to California or maybe NYC and thus goes the country”, as some sort of template, I (as a native of this place) have always thought “no, look to SC”, and I was right.

    • Jane Diaz December 21, 2012 at 4:46 pm #

      I completely agree with you. SC is still in the Civil War mentality and will do NOTHING to make us as a state and a people better. they are too busy hating the president. They are only hurting themselves. The very people who need health care, food stamps, unemployment, and gun control are the ones who fight against those of us who want it and think we as a nation can do better. It is not only shameful, it is evil.

    • Gerrie Rousseau December 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

      My husband & I moved from New England over nine years ago. Totally agree with you, although there are more thinking people living here, then say Mississippi where only 10% voted for Obama. I believe it was 44% here. But the extremists run this state. Fox News has done its brain washing well on the citizens. Outright lying in the media needs to be outlawed, as in Canada. When my husband was selling advertising in the Charleston area, he couldn’t believe the number of times business owners used the “N” word and remarked on the “Moslem president”. I couldn’t even have a yard sale without a neighbor telling me Obama doesn’t want us to make any money! Know anyone who wants a Lowcountry cottage home near the water? We need to return to sanity.

    • Jane Rosso December 21, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

      Monica, you’re right. I experienced that in local government. I tried to change it, get the leaders to think about the community. It was very, very difficult. It’s amazing what the political leaders get away with. And what the citizens will tolerate.

    • Ruth Carter December 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm #

      We too moved here from Pittsburgh and I agree that I am appalled by the total lack of empathy expressed by political leaders here in SC. I’ve been hoping that Vincent Sheheen would show some leadership in this area – he has a viable chance at being elected governor if he runs again. I get the being scared of the NRA mentality but enough is enough. Plus you don’t have to be anti-gun to express outrage over such a horrible act.

    • Ernie Acosta December 22, 2012 at 11:50 pm #

      Don’t give up hope. Don’t ever give hope. Reason wil win, eventually.

  3. Nancy A December 21, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    Its nice to see SOMEONE in SC taking a stand! I am so sick and tired of these big money lobbyists controlling our politicians! Who are they suppose to be working for here?!? NOT the NRA, despite the fact, I’m sure, they have bought and paid for each and every one of those SC politicians you listed. Its shameful that in a state where people say they are Christians, yet their leaders do the very opposite of the Christian thing to do here. Thank You Phil, for speaking up for us!!

  4. Clarence Jones December 21, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

    I agree that our politicians should address this matter. But I believe there are limitations in any response.We all know that SC is NRA territory and most all of us are strong believers in the second admendment. However, I do strongly believe that assualt weapons should be banned. They have no other primary purpose that to kill humans. I am also sadded by the fact that SC cohse to close basically all of it’s psychiatric facilities that could evaluate potential problems. There was an article today in the news in SC where 3 boys got suspended for having a “kill list” at one of the schools. These children and other like that need to be seriously evaluated for what ever drives that behavior. Right now our Govenor is more interested in saving money like the rest of the Republican party. I think as a South Carolinian we may need to take a serious look at both issues. I know if I were Principal at the School we’re those boys were suspended, I would not allow them back without a Psychiatric consult having been performed.

  5. Alice jordan December 21, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Please, what’s it gonna take?

  6. Debra Hutto December 21, 2012 at 4:20 pm #

    Take the guns off the streets, then take them off store shelves.

  7. Richard Moutz December 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    Thank you Mr Noble for speaking out on this issue. Let’s hope more of SC leaders will do the same. Assault weapons should have no place in our society!

  8. Maxie W. Duke December 21, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

    Phil: I have known you a long, long time. You speak the truth, and you speak it well. Our beautiful SC is beholden to the NRA, and its leaders cannot think beyond the end of the day. Haley/Zais, the whole crew. We need some fresh minds, some fresh attitutdes.

    Can you, will you, run for Demint’s Senate Seat?

    Maxie W. Duke

    • Monica Goodrich December 22, 2012 at 4:35 pm #

      What and excellent idea. Mr. Noble, please run for DeMint’s Senate seat. I believe you would be an EXCELLENT candidate!

  9. Vickey Brickle December 21, 2012 at 4:49 pm #

    I agree that SC government officials have be too silent on these killings and on the subject of gun control. Most of the time I am deeply ashamed of living in SC because our officials here and in Washington are so embarrassing and out of touch with the world. I wanted to vote the Tea Party Republicans out this last election but in many cases there wasn’t anyone running against them–where are the Democratic candidates? We need alternatives to the idiots currently in power if there are going to be any changes made in this state.

    On the subject of gun control–I lost my oldest son, 42, two weeks ago in Atlanta. He killed himself with a handgun that his roommate had purchased at a gun show. The roommate passed the background checks and kept the gun in a locker box in his bedroom. My son would never have passed a background check because he did have a long history of mental illness, though the roommate didn’t know how bad it was and just though he was depressed about not having a job and health problems. My son tried to get me to let him buy a gun while he lived with me here in SC and there was no way i was letting him get one because of his problems and he did not hunt for sport. If they had done background checks on everyone in the household where my son was living then he might still be alive. Adam’s mother passed a background check but I doubt if Adam would have.

    We need a ban on assault weapons, more than ten bullets in a magazine, and get all assault weapons already bought or traded out of the weapon collecting nuts hands. We also need officials in SC to speak up against these weapons and mean it.

    We also need to increase funding for mental health especially identifying problem children and adults so that people like my son and Adam can be helped or stopped before they kill themselves or others.

    Thank you for listening,

    Vickey Brickle
    Columbia, SC

    PS I’d like to contribute but I am currently unemployed. I am an artist and fiber artist and it’s very difficult to find work or sell your work in SC.

  10. Pat Goodman December 21, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Today Haley said it’s not gun control but mental health. Under her leadership weren’t the funds for mental health provision cut drastically. Which side of her mouth should we listen to?

  11. Caroline Donaghy December 21, 2012 at 4:56 pm #

    Well said.

  12. Bill Poloski December 21, 2012 at 5:15 pm #

    Thank God we got level heads in our state gov’t. The sky is not falling. Lets look at the kill and rape music, movies and video games that our children are subject to day in and out.

  13. Daingerfield Ashton December 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm #

    After our Spartanburg Sheriff encouraged gun “use” and Representative Gowdy had one pointed in his face in the church parking lot, just maybe,just maybe,he might rethink his party affiliation with the NRA. His association with elementary schools might also give him a small incentive.

  14. Carol Baloglu December 21, 2012 at 5:40 pm #

    Special interest groups should not dictate our State’s policies; if our leaders refuse to do anything to stop another Newtown occurring , we should remember this when we vote. We need to keep those children’s faces in our minds when election time rolls around. Governor Haley already has the hacking debacle on her record. Does she want her silence on this issue to be added to the list?
    How anybody who has children can remain silent is beyond my comprehension.
    Thank you for addressing this issue when others choose to ignore it.

  15. DJ O'Neill December 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm #

    Pnil,

    What do you expect from the Republicans!!!???

    As a former substitute teacher and a father who lost a child in tragic circumstances my question is — Why wait for the politicians?

    The essence of democracy is that the power is with the people. The politicians are elected by the people, to work for the people, are PAID BY THE PEOPLE AND THEREFORE SHOULD BE FORCED TO DO THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

    Somehow this message has not penetrated the minds of these electyed representatives, some by7 dubious means it should be said.

    Why don’t you start your own ;TAKE ACTION’ petition to capture the mood of ‘the people’. Then bring that pressure to bear from that direction. Believe me, when politicians see that the tide of public opinion is flowing against them they will jump into action.

    DJ O’Neill

  16. William (WC) Heitsman December 21, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    Lets start a recall procedure for politicans who are in the pocketbook of out of state interests. Why should the other states have all the fun.

  17. Wendell Rector December 21, 2012 at 8:22 pm #

    Well said! Sometimes I feel such an outcast in this otherwise wonderful state. The culture in which we live is difficult for me to understand, even among folks who are – in every other way – kind, understanding and charitable.

    I feel so helpless when I vote and am faced with only Conservative Republicans running, for the most part, unopposed for political office.

    More effort by thinking Democrats and more actions such as those mentioned by Phil in this excellent article might bode well for our future.

  18. teresa moore December 21, 2012 at 9:53 pm #

    Thank You!!!

  19. Moe December 22, 2012 at 5:11 am #

    We have regulated people by passing a law that says “Thou shall not kill”. Since it did no good now we must pass a law that says you are only allowed to posses a gun with no more than 5 pieces of ammo. NO ASSAULT WEAPONS.

  20. Elizabeth Braun December 22, 2012 at 7:32 am #

    It is easy to say,”Of course I agree with you.”, However any response on a local level in this area is worse than futile, it simply antagonizes local constituary. I have discussed this with small groups and have written to national groups for action. Thank you for your column.

  21. Samuel Key December 22, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    A man named Petigrue (sp) once said that S C is too small to be a country and too large to be an insane asylum. That was true then and it is true today. The only difference is that there are a lot more inmates here today. The only way we are going to stop this carnage is to repeal the second ammendment and start over and make gun laws, at the federal level, that are more appropriate for the 21st century and the type of guns that are now available. No more more tax free weekends on gun purchases. WILL NEVER HAPPEN!!

  22. Margaret Paul Edwards December 22, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    Excellent article, Mr. Noble. My heartfelt sympathies to you, Ms. Brickle. I have lived all over the country and cherish the experiences I have had by doing so…but I must admit that the 7 years I have lived in SC (which I refer to as SS – Stupid State) have been enlightening in ways I never expected. Never have so many been bamboozled by so few – and such incompetents! Although I disagreed with him on many issues, the former Rep. Bob Inglis was the only politician from this state who ever showed even a smidgen of intelligence and original thought instead of blindly following whatever party line will fill their pockets. Jim Demint is a perfect example – did he not take a pledge to represent his constituents? Forget being a Public Servant when you can take a much more highly paid job! As for our so-called Governor, doesn’t anyone remember that it was clearly revealed when she was running for the office that she has NO experience and NO qualifications…pretty face notwithstanding? She has taken credit for business increases in this state that were put into place many years before she even showed up on the scene. She has cut essential services that contribute to a civilized and intelligent populace (education, mental health facilities, arts, etc.) She – and her fellow politicians – are determined to win the race to the bottom. And THIS is “a bright light in the Republican party?”
    We The People know what to do: ban assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips. Make manufacturing, selling, and OWNING such items a felony. Period.

  23. Tim December 22, 2012 at 9:53 am #

    First let me say that I am a true believer in the 2nd Amendment. I believe as George Washington stated, that as a nation the people should have enough weapons and ammunition to defend and protect themselves from any threats to their freedoms and family, even if from their own Government.

    That being said, I do not own any guns of any kind. I lost my brother in 1986 to an act of violence with a gun, the weapon was the means but the man who pulled the trigger was the blame. The problem is not the guns that are in this country, but rather the morals and values people put on human life and the mental state of our society these days. The gun laws we have today are very strong in themselves. What this country needs is more funding for Mental Health, and SC is no different than any other state. If a new law comes to pass that all AR type and style rifles be banned for sale, then it only drives up the prices for the 3.5 Million AR’s built and sold this year alone. Not to mention the 3.5 Million per year that was built and sold since the last AR Ban was lifted. A Ban will only create a new market of Pre-Ban and Post Ban Weapons.

    There are people who live in this state and in most states that depend on weapons, and long range rifles to provide the proteins their family needs to stay alive by hunting. So for those of you who wish to see the 2nd Amendment Abolished… Think about how many families will go hungry, and become dependent on entitlements. God forbid if our country was to be attacked on our own soil and the people needed to protect their families from a foreign enemy, but couldn’t because ALL GUNS HAD BEEN DESTROYED…

    Honestly, I don’t care for the policies of our political leadership in SC, but I stand with them on their silence in this matter concerning the victims of Sandy Hook. This was a Tragedy, A senseless thoughtless unnecessary tragedy. Whether or not the shooter had mental health issues, or just decided to do the unthinkable, and become a media sensationalist by committing an unthinkable act. Then ending his own life in a Cowardly fashion. It is at the end of the day, week, month, year, lifetime…A Tragedy.

  24. Agnes Pomata December 22, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Another note to our South Carolina politicians: You CANNOT by pro-life and anti-gun control. Just not possible. Stop the hypocrisy.

  25. Powell Hickman December 22, 2012 at 10:43 am #

    Phil,

    I continue to be amazed at the selfishness of those who refused to consider small changes that will decrease the number
    of gun deaths aboung our young people. Thank you for speaking out. We all need to hold ALL of our friends, acquantances, and representatives accountable for the results of this selfishness

  26. STEPHEN PAUL DELSOL December 22, 2012 at 12:09 pm #

    CHILDREN LEARN WHAT THEY LIVE!

    Children learn what they live, and they live what they learn. If children live with guns they learn how to kill. The American Journal of Lifestyle Medicine reported that most gun accidents occur in the home—with about 50 percent being family members under 25—and that a gun in the home is a high indicator of successful suicides. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control reported that 749 people took their own lives using a firearm, most of which were owned by a parent.

    The purpose of a gun is to kill. The purpose of a school is to educate. The two purposes are diametrically opposed. We must stop the ‘militarization of our schools’. Schools must not be turned into a ‘war zone’, with gun touting, aggressive looking people, parading around the school with guns. The whole ethos and ambiance of schools will be drastically and dramatically changed, inducing fear in the students. The powerful message that will be communicated to students will be ‘if you have a problem with someone get yourself and gun and shoot them –dead!”. A Harvard research has shown that if you increase the quantity of guns; you will also increase the quantity of deaths from guns.

    We must stop this dangerous process at its outset. Schools are places where students learn to love, respect, care for, and to solve their interpersonal problems reasonably, using negotiation and compromise.

    People buy guns to protect themselves from ‘the enemy outside’. Sadly, the majority of deaths from guns come from ‘the enemy within’. It is the ‘enemy’ of hatred, anger and fear in our heart that drive us to buy and use guns.

    We have a fatal attraction and fatal affection for guns that produce fatal results. You cannot stop gun violence with more gun violence! We are in danger of regressing back to the age of ‘The Wild West’

    We must stop this madness!

    Stephen Paul Delsol

    SPDelsol@gmail.com

    • Dr. Frank R. Douglas December 22, 2012 at 7:42 pm #

      There are several issues occurring at the same time in South Carolina. One, is South Carolina’s political leadership has always been out of line with the nation. It was an important impetus for the Civil War and has continued to look to the past instead of the future. There are a lot of misconceptions about the Second Amendment. It was a State’s Right to have an armed militia to protect the State and not for individual’s to have arms to confront the State or anyone else. There is a huge difference in weapons for self protection and hunting and those meant to kill many people very quickly. If there is control and regulation on driving a car why not have minimal controls on weapons ownership and training? That is why we have a crazy situation. We need a national health care system that includes offering mental health care so we can identify those who are a danger to the general public and themselves and remove them from the public. Possessing weapons is not a freedom. Children should be able to enjoy the freedom of attending school without fear of losing their lives. They have a right to this fundamental freedom. Instead, in this country these children and their attending adults, got aborted from life and received the death penalty. They did not deserve this but when you have individuals with mental problems loose in society coupled with a country that has easy access to deadly weapons you get terrible outcomes. I expect more of this to happen because politicians have no nerve to do the right thing. Common sense, manners, and decency is out the window these days. My family comes from The South but the charm is very diminished these days when you have a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from South Carolina interrupting the President of the United States saying he lies which violate all sense of manners and culture then how is a situation like guns ever going to be addressed?

      Dr. Frank R. Douglas

  27. Neville Allum December 23, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    With all the guns available today Wyatt Earp must be wondering why he wasted his time preventing the cowboys from entering town with their guns – I guess he was not as smart as we are today!!

  28. Barbara Kelly December 23, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

    So glad you wrote this, Phil, and I totally concur. I taught in CT for 25 years, not so far from Sandy Hook, and this hits so close to home. I wrote two letters to the editor — one to Bluffton Today and one to The Island Packet. They were published last week and if you could see the horrible comments

    This comment doesn;t seem to be working very well for changing my mistakes. Anyway, the comments were sickening, but even worse is no comments in favor of gun control of any kind. The slience of those who support gun control in this state is a big part of the problem — from poiticians to citizens. I pray for our children, for all the children to have to live in such a world.

    Thanks, Phil

  29. Barbara Kelly December 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm #

    Thank you, Phil, for this. I taught in CT for 25 years and this hit so close to home for me. I wrote two letters to the editor, both were published last week. One in The Island Packet and the other in Bluffton Today. I have heard nothing but horrible comments from others in SC. Only one person agreed with me that this madness must stop. I wish I had never moved to this radical and crazy state, but I will never give up hope. Real courage means one feels the fear and speaks up anyway. Our politicians on both sides don’t seem to understand this. I will never again support any of them.

  30. Sylviane Toporkoff December 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm #

    Dear Phil

    This is the occasion to tell you that of course I agree with you but also I admire your work and figh and couraget!!!!

  31. Patty Johnson December 26, 2012 at 11:52 am #

    Thank you for the truth!
    I LOVE getting your emails!!
    PLEASE be sure you get people to run in the next elections in 2014 who can WIN WIN WIN!!! We need to STOP being dominated by selfish and egocentric politicians who only live in SC because they can get a free ride here in public office.
    PLEASE remind voters that imcumbants ARE NOT what they want you to believe they are!!!

  32. Anders Kaufmann December 26, 2012 at 2:13 pm #

    One of the most disappointing positions on this issue is that of Lindsay Graham. While I did not vote for him, he has been moderate and reasonable on many matters. His outspoken comment about opposing any additional gun control legislation is disappointing at best and – in my view – irresponsible. It appears that he is is pandering to the extreme views of the far right to gain support for his re-election campaign. How sad for a member of the body that is supposed to put the best interests of the country above his own.

  33. Kay Haun December 26, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    You’re preaching to the choir, Mr. Noble. Saying what these “leaders” should do gains nothing. They do not and will not speak out for gun legislation, and this inaction is no surprise to any of us. Why? Because they fully believe in all the claptrap and obfuscation and misuse of facts spewing from NRA members and Wayne LaPierre! In addition, re-election is the primary object of holding public office, not being of service to the state and its diverse population. The small power they gain from their offices is an overpowering stimulus. Therefore, we voters can do no more than remove them from office. Then they will hear us. However, our Democratic leaders and our Democratic candidates are too often just more of the same. We must get some strong, attractive, honest, and caring people to run for office. And we don’t need to be wounding ourselves even more than the opposition is wounding us by nominating party chairmen like Dick Harpootlian, just another big-mouth, redneck buffoon on his own power trip! It’s long past time for us to sweep out the tired old hacks and present a fresh slate of bright people with strong backbones!

  34. Ike December 26, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

    OK PHIL,

    Its good to see you SLAMMING THE REPUBLICANS but what about the DEMS THAT ALSO HAVE NOT SAID A DAIM THING???

    WHY NOT POINT THEM OUT ALSO??? OR IS IT JUST POLITICS AS USUAL FOR THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY>?????? BLAME AND SLANDER EVERYONE ELSE AND KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT ABOUT YOUR OWN FAILINGS????

    • John December 27, 2012 at 8:26 am #

      Ike,

      Vince Sheheen and Brad Hutto are Democrats.

      As for the rest, it’s hard to say that both sides are equally to blame for anything as long as one side — the Republican side — holds every single statewide elected office.

  35. Jon Crawford January 4, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    Gun violence in the US should be compared with that of other modern developed countries so that Americans have a full understanding of the current posture on access to deadly weapons and the spectrum that exists worldwide. We are closer in that regard to Afghanistan than to the United Kingdom or Canada, I am guessing. The US in the 21C is an urban nation, so the whole argument about hunting rights and defending one’s frontier outpost is anachronistic. A long rifle should be sufficient, in any case. The discussion of school violence is only one aspect of the larger question; here in North Charleston there is deadly gun violence every day, reported in the P&C on Section B; but it largely involves African American communities, so there is no outcry. Were this contagion to infect Mt Pleasant, where I live, perhaps the conversation would be more intense, but would the good citizens of SC move forward to limit access to guns, close the loopholes, enforce and expand the existing background checks and demand registration when there is change of ownership? Rhetoric aside, let’s demand action on the local level, immediately!

  36. Bruce Marshall January 4, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

    This is an excellent article and a very sensible proposal — why not convene a citizens panel — not just professional politicians — to discuss Safety in our Society (not just schools)? The toll on our citizens from gun violence every day is appalling — far more casualties than our prolonged wars. Yet even the simplest steps to reduce violence are rejected in favor of more violence. Limiting the instruments of violence will not prevent all tragedies, but much can be done to reduce the easy access to deadly weapons and munitions, and a serious conversation about this topic should start right away.

  37. Joann Noonan February 17, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    I wrote all of our legislators asking that they pass “massacre control” legislation for our state — ban assault weapons and large-capacity ammo clips, institute universal background checks, ban straw purchases; have a waiting period; limit the number of “operational guns” (so collectors of antique guns would not be affected as they can be made inoperable); and impose severe penalties. Most replies were computer-generated “thanks for writing.” I received two (possibly, they could have been written by a staff member) personal replies, one listing a number of issues and saying he would give serious discussion and thought to them, and the other which said in its entirety “not a chance.” I fear that the “not a chance” response is close to being the universal feeling of our legislators and fellow residents. If they ever give the U.S. an enema, it will be administered in SC.

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