Some protestors carried Disarm Hate signs, which comes from the organization Everytown, to help build awareness of the causes of gun violence in America.
Sen. Greg Gregory, R-Lancaster says bipartisanship is critical on an issue as important as gun control.
Arlene Andrews, a member of Moms Demand Action for gun sense, said the group started after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting after a mom who was very concerned about violence started a Facebook page. Moms Demand Action has become a National movement.
Students, educators and politicians were all in attendance at a Feb. 27 State House rally, but most of the crowd came from a group called Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America.
The women came from all across the state to push for one common cause: substantial gun reforms to end senseless violence and protect all children at school.
South Carolina senators are looking to close the so-called “Charleston Loophole” with legislation introduced in the state senate.
The bipartisan bill is cosponsored by Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, and Sen. Greg Gregory, R-Lancaster. It would mandate gun dealers in South Carolina wait five days before transferring a firearm in the case of a delayed background check.
Gregory said that this bill came out of the 2015 Charleston shooting where a gunman entered Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and nine people, including a senate colleague, the Rev. Clementa Pinckney.
The current law in South Carolina allows gun dealers to sell firearms without a completed background check if it takes the National Instant Background Check System more than three days to process the application.
The NICS database is a list of individuals who are by law prohibited to purchase a gun.
Gregory explained how the NICS database works for gun dealers.
“When someone goes to buy a gun they [the gun dealer] call the NICS number, and 92 percent of the people who are buying a gun are approve instantaneously, meaning they walk out with a gun,” Gregory said. “About 8 percent are either denied because they have a criminal record or something else that prohibits them.”
Expanding the number of days gun dealers must wait to transfer a firearm from three to five days gives authorities more time to determine whether a potential buyer can legally purchase a gun.
However, this bill would not have stopped the Charleston shooter, avowed white supremacist Dylann Roof, from getting a gun because that was a clerical error.
“It would stop Dylann-Roof-type people from getting a gun,” Gregory said.
The bill aims to improve the efficiency of background checks by requiring clerks of court to report cases that keep a person from buying a firearm.
This bill would also reduce to 10 days the time that a clerk of court has to report the disposition of court cases to state law.
“It is currently a 30-day period,” Kimpson said.
It would also create a 48-hour deadline for court clerks to report court orders, including orders of protection, restraining orders, orders preventing possession of a firearm, domestic violence convictions and orders issued in cases of harassment or stalking of another person.
Arlene Andrews, a member of the Moms Demand Action group, is hopeful this bill will pass.
“If you’re going to do a background check, you want it to be effective. This bill helps to strengthen that for South Carolinians,” Andrews said.
Kimpson said sponsors need the majority of votes in the Judiciary Committee.
With that in mind, time is of the essence for the bill. It has to be passed before this legislative session is over in May.