‘Now’s the time to do it’: McMaster renews call for bond reform
COLUMBIA, S.C (WRDW/WAGT) - Gov. Henry McMaster is again urging South Carolina lawmakers to toughen up penalties for illegal gun possession and reform the state’s bond process.
“Close that revolving door. How long are we going to wait?” McMaster said Tuesday.
It’s a plea he’s been making for months, and right now during its special session, the General Assembly is in a position to do something about it.
On Tuesday, he was joined by Trooper B.A. Frazier, who was shot in the face during an April traffic stop in Bamberg County.
Investigators say the accused shooter had a stolen gun and was out on bond in Georgia.
“He never should’ve been stopped for speeding that night by Trooper Frazier,” said Robert Woods, director of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. “He never should’ve made contact with him. He never should’ve been out there. That’s when you realize this is just senseless. This just shouldn’t happen.”
The governor is urging lawmakers to toughen up the penalties for possessing illegal guns.
The House put these penalties in a larger to allow adults in South Carolina to carry guns without a permit or training.
The Senate has yet to debate that controversial, permitless carry bill, and instead added the illegal gun penalties to another bill – to criminalize fentanyl trafficking.
But those penalties would only apply to people convicted of certain drug crimes.
McMaster says that’s not enough.
“Why limit it to just fentanyl crimes?” he said. “How about rape? How about assault and battery? How about murder?”
The governor is also urging legislators to get a bond-reform bill to him – and close what he’s characterized as a revolving door of people who commit crimes while out on bond for other crimes.
“We know that these career criminals are going to do it again,” he said,
This week – South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and SLED Chief Mark Keel penned this letter to lawmakers, saying they need to pass this bill to establish much needed standards for electronically monitoring people out on bond.
“When someone fails to do their job by monitoring violent criminals when they’re back out in society and out on bond, that we can actually hold them accountable,” Wilson said.
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