This past weekend saw yet another holiday season stained by tragedy as two shootings rang out across South Carolina within a two-day span. On Saturday, a shooting at the Columbiana Centre mall left at least 14 people injured, 9 of whom were shot. And early Sunday, another 9 people were injured in a shooting at a club in Hampton County.
These two devastating shootings will leave permanent scars on survivors and entire communities, and unfortunately, they represent only a fraction of the gun violence that impacts South Carolinians on a daily basis. Just weeks ago, a twelve-year old was killed in a shooting at Greenville’s Tanglewood Middle School. Days after that, five people were wounded in a shooting along a rural road in Colleton County.
As gun violence continues to rock South Carolina communities at an alarming level, some state lawmakers are still actively working to weaken the state’s already sparse gun laws. Research shows that states with weak gun laws have higher rates of gun violence; South Carolina scores only 18 out of 100 for gun law strength while maintaining one of the highest gun death rates in the country.
State and local leaders have a vital role to play in combating gun violence. Instead of pushing policies like permitless carry that are proven to make communities less safe, legislators should be working to advance common sense gun safety measures that will save lives across the state — such as funding community-based violence intervention programs.
In an average year, 964 people are killed by guns in South Carolina, and 1,780 more are wounded. Guns are the leading cause of death for children and teens in the state. Gun violence costs South Carolina $6.1 billion each year, of which $297.5 million is paid by taxpayers. More information on gun violence in South Carolina is available here.