SC Judiciary Panel Votes to Move Forward with Domestic Violence Bill Including Gun Restrictions
After last year’s national report on criminal domestic violence showed that South Carolina still ranked top in the nation for number of women killed in domestic violence situations, the state’s legislators have become serious about strengthening laws to prevent domestic abuse and violence, and more seriously punish criminals who commit such abuse.
In the last decade, 300 South Carolina women have died as a result of criminal domestic violence, and the abusers’ weapon of choice is handguns. A recently-proposed piece of legislation creates a tiered system of punishment based on the degree of the crime, much like DUI or homicide laws, and jail time can range from 30 days to 10 years. The bill will also prevent those convicted of criminal domestic violence from owning or purchasing a gun for 10 years.
Under federal law, convicted criminals are not allowed to purchase guns, but South Carolina had no specific provisions to take guns away from convicted criminal domestic abusers.
“We in state government have a duty to protect the most vulnerable in South Carolina, and tragically, that too often ends up being members of an abuser’s household,” said Judiciary Chairman Sen. Larry Martin, the bill’s sponsor, in a statement. “South Carolina has been among the worst in the nation in domestic violence for far too long, and I’m hopeful the full Senate will address this bill quickly.”
“We look bad to everyone across the country,” said Sen. Kevin Johnson, a Democrat from Manning who is on the judiciary committee.
Republican Senator Tom Corbin proposed an amendment to the bill that would remove the gun ban, but his proposal was overwhelmingly rejected.
“We need to fix this without attacking the Second Amendment,” said Corbin, who is from Travelers Rest.
The judiciary committee passed the criminal domestic violence bill 19-2, meaning that it can now go to the House for a vote.
“I know we are going to face a lot of hurdles when we get that bill over in the House,” Martin said, referring in particular to the gun requirement. However, Martin said he is proud of the domestic violence bill that came out of the panel: “It is as strong as bill as I could hope for coming out of committee.”
The bill also offers permanent no-contact orders to protect victims from criminal domestic abusers, and requires those charges with criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature to attend a batterer-intervention program.
The Strom Law Firm Prosecutes Criminals On Behalf of Domestic Violence and Murder Victims
If you, or a loved one, are the victims of a serious crime, including domestic violence, assault, robbery, or murder, it is important that you take the person who hurt you to court – whether it is a criminal trial, or personal injury lawsuit. The attorneys at the Strom Law Firm have been based in Columbia, SC for 16 years, and are also licensed to practice in Georgia and New York. We offer free, confidential consultations to discuss the facts of your case, so do not hesitate to contact us for help. 803.252.4800.