Outlook unclear for ‘red flag’ gun law in South Carolina

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 4:42 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - States could receive money from the federal government to establish and maintain red flag laws – through the new bipartisan gun safety law.

Nearly 20 states have these measures, which let courts suspend someone’s guns if they’re determined to be a threat to themselves or others.

South Carolina does not have one of these laws.

Asked if he wanted the General Assembly to pursue this – given the money the federal government is offering states to build out these programs if they have them — Gov. Henry McMaster said he would need to take a closer look first.

“Anything that intrudes or infringes on anybody’s right to legally have a firearm, I oppose,” he said.

Supporters of the federal bipartisan gun law, including Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina – say Second Amendment rights are not affected unless someone is convicted of a violent crime or determined to be mentally ill.

Democratic state Sen. Darrell Jackson echoed that assertion, saying a red flag law would not affect responsible gun owners.

Jackson says he plans to introduce a bill in South Carolina’s next legislative session that would create a red flag law – calling it a no-brainer, especially with money the federal government is now offering.

“I think we ought to take a page out of what Florida has done,” Jackson said. “After the Parkland shootings, Florida went and did red flag laws. They raised the age at which you can buy a weapon, and no one has ever accused Florida of being a liberal state, OK, but they did it because I think they felt it was time to do it. It was to make everyone safe.”

During a recent tele-town hall with South Carolinians – Graham noted the federal gun law does not establish a nationwide red flag law – nor does it force any states to establish their own.

He says those states that don’t have them, like South Carolina, can still receive money for crisis intervention and mental health programs.

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