It took fewer than two minutes after the opening of the April 20 meeting of Greenville County Council for the debate to begin.
And for more than 45 minutes, speaker after speaker arose to support or oppose an ordinance proposed by Councilman Steve Shaw that would prohibit any infringements on the right to keep and bear arms within county limits.
Referred to committee: Gun protections ordinance
A crowd of more than two dozen county residents, many wearing orange shirts with the words “Guns Saves Lives,” appeared at the meeting to voice their support for the ordinance. The crowd supporting the ordinance often cheered, applauded and occasionally heckled council members and speakers, receiving threats of being removed from council chambers.
Jack Logan, founder of the nonprofit “Put Down the Guns Now Young People,” was the first to speak in support of the ordinance.
“We work hard in the streets daily — most of you know that,” Logan said. “So many shootings, the most recent one in my district, Club Lavish. Those men who drove from Georgia to South Carolina to do harm, if they had known some law abiding citizens had been in there with guns, they never would’ve done it.”
A smaller crowd addressed rising gun violence and suicide rates in their opposition to the ordinance, with some calling it a “purely symbolic” gesture that would infringe upon common sense gun safety laws.
“Second amendment sanctuaries are based on the idea that common sense gun safety laws are unconstitutional,” said Linda Hardin, who opposes the ordinance. “What’s the truth? These gun safety laws don’t infringe on second amendment rights. The second amendment is not under threat… and any efforts to confuse the public or refuse gun safety laws are dangerous.”
The ordinance, which was ultimately referred to the county’s Public Safety Committee for further review, would mandate that no agent, department, employee or official of the county shall “knowingly and willingly participate in any way in the enforcement of any unlawful acts… regarding personal firearms, firearms accessories or ammunition.” Those “unlawful acts” would include:
- Imposing specific taxes, levies, fees or stamps on firearms or firearm accessories beyond taxes for all common goods.
- Any tracking or registration of firearms, firearm accessories or ammunition.
- Any act forbidding the possession, ownership or transfer or firearms or forearm accessories other than those pursuant to federal law background check requirements for transfers or purchases through federal firearm licensed dealers.
- Any confiscation of firearms or firearm accessories that are constitutionally granted.
- Any prohibition, regulation or restriction limiting hand gun grips, stocks, flash suppressors, bayonet mounts, magazine capacity, clip capacity, internal capacity, bump stocks, suppressors, or types of ammunition available for sale or possession.
Per the ordinance, anyone who attempts to enforce any of the above acts would be subject to up to 30 days in jail or fined up to $500.