Columbia, SC (WLTX) A group called Moms Demand Action went to the statehouse Tuesday to make sure lawmakers heard their voice on gun legislation.
They are asking for common sense approaches to prevent more tragedies like the Charleston church shooting. Melody Geddis McFadden's niece was killed on May 24, 2014 in Myrtle Beach. She tells News 19, "She went to the beach with her friends and was shot by random gunfire. She was 22 years old. Her name is Sandy Geddis Barnwell."
But that was the second time Mcfadden has faced a tragedy due to gun violence. She says her mother was killed in a domestic violence incident when she was only 17.
Those tragedies are what prompted McFadden, a pastor who knew Senator Clementa Pinckney, to join mothers to fight for certain gun laws in our state. She says, "We want common sense gun laws. We want loopholes closed. We want background checks. We want them to pay attention because we don't want any more of our children to be killed."
The bill dubbed the "Charleston Loophole Bill" aims to make sure those who should not have guns don't get them. Republican Representative Doug Brannon from Spartanburg, introduced it in the house after Dylan Roof obtained a gun, when the FBI failed to get a background check back in the three day time period. He later admitted to shooting nine people in the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. Brannon tells News 19, "The shooter in the Charleston church shooting came up yellow flagged, and after the third day expired, the gun owner legally sold that person a gun. My bill extends that waiting period from 3 days to 28 days."
In the last five years, gun dealers have sold more than 15,000 guns to criminals and other prohibited people because a background check could not be completed within three business days. That 28 day period should be enough time to get an international background check complete, thus allowing plenty of time to checks like Roof's back as well. Democratic Senator Gerald Malloy from Darlington is pushing his bill with the same requirements in the senate. He tells News 19 he wants real discussion on the matter, saying "Our humanity matters and so we got a bad guy that gets an opportunity to get a gun, over something that we can prevent, then we have a problem, and we have a responsibility in this state to prevent those things that we can."
The group, Moms Demand Action is also opposed to another bill, House Bill 3025. That bill will get a hearing Wednesday. Diana Heitman tells News 19, "This is a bill that will completely decimate the permit people now have to acquire in South Carolina to carry a gun. It will allow people to get a gun with no training, no background check, no nothing, and there is absolutely no reason to do that. We have safeguards in place, and they should stay in place."