Sadly, the political grandstanding after Easter weekend in SC is marred by two 'mass' shootings, is predictable.
The Columbiana Centre Mall shootings, where nine people were struck with bullets, another six suffered other injuries attempting to flee gunfire, is in Sen. Dick Harpootlian's (D-Richland) district. Harpootlian was a deputy solicitor and solicitor for 12 years, and wants to increase felony penalties for people convicted of illegally carrying a gun in SC.
Currently, you face up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine if convicted, which sounds pretty STIFF already. Unfortunately, we're not enforcing the laws we currently have on the books, to the extent necessary.
Harpootlian’s calling for increased felony penalties, to a minimum one-year mandatory sentence and a maximum of five years, for anyone unlawfully carrying a pistol. Bond would also be set by a circuit court judge instead of a magistrate and solicitors wouldn’t be able to reduce the charge if someone was illegally carrying.
There are four weeks left in this legislative session to introduce a bill and get it passed through both chambers, an extremely tight window. But Harpootlian believes it does have a chance, saying lawmakers from both parties have already told him they want to get on board.
Sen. Sandy Senn (R-Charleston) told Harpootlian she believes penalties should also be increased for each time someone’s caught carrying illegally.
“We have attempted several times in this body to get such a measure passed, and I would certainly welcome any opportunity to help you in that regard,” she said.