SC Senators Propose GunBan, Stiffer Domestic Violence Laws
Boy, there are days when South Carolina surprises me, and days when South Carolina acts like, well, I think it has always acted, and so now I’ll present to you A Tale of Two South Carolina’s.
In the first one, we have Republican — you read that right — State Senator Larry Martin, the head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who is pushing new legislation bringing sweeping reform to the state’s domestic violence laws by creating a tiered system of offenses, increasing penalties and barring batterers from possessing guns.
Yes, people, gun control, of a sort, in South Carolina.
The bill, if adopted, would change the state's domestic violence laws for the first time in a decade, and, among other things, it would:
Restructure criminal domestic violence laws into a tiered system of degrees based on the severity of the crime, with escalating penalties ranging from 30 days in jail to 10 years in prison.
Bar those convicted of domestic violence offenses or facing protective orders from possessing firearms or holding a concealed-weapons permit. Batterers would face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000 if caught with a gun.
Require those charged with criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature to attend intervention programs and bar them from having firearms or ammunition as a condition of bail.
Allow courts to grant permanent no-contact orders to prevent abusers from harassing victims. Police could arrest violators without a warrant and the offender would face a felony carrying up to five years in prison.
This bill is in response to state statistics that show over 300 women have been killed in the last decade from domestic violence — one murder every twelve days. South Carolina currently ranks Number Two in the nation for the rate of women killed by men, and has topped the list three times in the past decade, most recently in 2013.
Now, because it’s South Carolina, the gun provision will likely face the stiffest opposition in our GOP-dominated Legislature, with many Republicans saying the issue is already addressed by federal law and a state measure is an unnecessary duplication that could infringe on gun rights.
Or is it just the rights of men who batter women to carry guns? See, while federal law bans those convicted of domestic violence from buying or possessing guns, South Carolina has no legislation to enforce that prohibition, meaning, yes, batterers can keep their guns, and conceal their guns. And let’s keep in mind that the overwhelming weapon of choice in domestic killings is a gun; guns have been used in 65% of all domestic homicides of women. But let’s worry about infringing on the batterers right to bear arms, and not on the rights of victims of domestic violence not to die.
Still, in South Carolina, of all places, it’s nice to see anyone, much less a Republican, put forth any kind of legislation that might be called gun control, even one that makes sense like this one.
On the flip side of Reasonable Republicans in South Carolina, we have Republican State Senator Lee Bright — the name does not suit him at all — who is on a mission to expand the right of South Carolinians to discriminate against LGBT people.
Now, to be fair, that gay couple can simply walk to another window, or wait for a more enlightened, educated, humane, truly Christian person to issue their license, but the point is that a state employee will be allowed to not do their job because they hate The Gays.
That gets me thinking that maybe I’ll get one of those jobs, then declare myself a Satanist and deny issuing licenses to religious couples because of my deeply held, sincere religious belief. Or, better yet, go in as an Atheist and deny licenses because there is no God y’all. Man, watching those Baptists heads explode might be worth it.
But here’s the deal, plain and simple: you people who work in a state licensing department work for the state, which means me, and so if you wanna deny me the right to legally do what I am entitled to do because, you say, your God don’t like no gay marriages, then step out of your office and head to unemployment and get on line looking for new work.
Same-sex marriage is legal, marriage is not a religious institution, and you cannot inflict your religious perversions on me just because you feel like.
Now sit down and keep quiet.