Charleston County Council voted Thursday to consider a resolution calling for a ban on semi-automatic, high-capacity magazine weapons. During a presentation to his fellow county leaders, Councilman Henry Darby recounted the recent string of mass shootings carried out by gunmen using assault weapons and called on the county to encourage state officials to restrict the sale of these firearms.
“I cringe why we as a country, a nation, state, county, or city won’t do something about gun reform,” said Darby during a presentation that included graphic photos of shooting victims and a retelling of the story of the Good Samaritan. “We are more concerned with ‘I have a right to own this style of weapon. I have a right to own this style of weapon’ — as opposed to being concerned about others.”
Darby warned that a decision to so publicly oppose assault weapons may cost the members of council some constituents and hurt their chances for re-election. But he also acknowledged that such a sacrifice may be necessary to achieve progress in putting a stop to continued mass shootings. Under the suggested language for the resolution, County Council would officially encourage the governor and state legislature to expeditiously and forthrightly make and pass laws banning all semi-automatic, high-capacity magazine weapons in South Carolina. Council member Colleen Condon recommended that the federal government should also be called upon for a ban.
Council Chairman Elliot Summey commended Darby on the proposal, which passed a vote for consideration with Councilmen Joseph Qualey and Dickie Schweers abstaining. Councilman Victor Rawl clarified the language of the proposed resolution, suggesting that the term “semi-automatic, high-capacity magazine weapons” be used instead of the term “assault-style weapons.”
“We’re tired of sympathy and prayers. At least, I certainly am,” said Rawl. “Regardless of who caused it, whether they were mentally ill, whether they were a terrorist, whether they were racist, whether they were a bigot, I don’t care what the reason is. The bottom line is the means available compounds the ferocity and the lethalness of the activity. That’s my concern.”