In the South, most states have some measure of preemption on the books. This is a pro-gun area and they don’t want their larger municipalities creating their own gun control laws that jam up law-abiding citizens who are unaware such measures are in place. Especially since so many of these larger municipalities have much higher crime than the rest of the state.
However, there’s one exception in many preemption laws, and that’s the ability for communities to restrict the discharging of a firearm within the city limits.
In fact, many communities have already passed such restrictions and there’s reason to understand why they did. While I may not agree with this–there are ways to restrict dangerous activity without such an ordinance, after all–I do understand where these cities are coming from.
One that doesn’t have such a law is, apparently, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. And, based on what happened when a city councilman suggested such a law, they’re not likely to ever have one.
Yesterday, the Freedom Action Network alerted local residents to this morning’s attempt along with a call to action.
Hundreds of calls, emails, and text messages poured into the inboxes of Horry County Councilmen.
[Councilman Gary] Loftus asked for the measure to be approved this morning, but the Public Safety Committee could not recommend it.
We spoke with Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner who told us Loftus has requested the ordinance be placed on the agenda tonight.
It will be placed on the agenda as not recommended by the Public Safety Committee.
Now, in fairness, weapons discharging ordinances are hardly the most restrictive kind of measure we could potentially see. That said, it was still an attempt to restrict the gun rights of Myrtle Beach residents and it was justly smacked down and smacked down hard. While it’ll still be on the agenda, it was described as being “dead on arrival.”
Of course, there are others who like would have opposed the measure had they known about it.
In particular, general contractors might have taken issue with one part of the ordinance that included nail guns as being illegal for use within the city. While air nail guns can be dangerous if used improperly, they’re generally used by people trying to conduct a task. They allow them to nail things together far faster than with a hammer. In a trade, time is money, so doing things quickly and automating in the first places you can just make sense. Telling them it’s illegal to use expensive tools they purchased to speed up the construction process wasn’t likely to go over well.
So, again, it’s a good thing gun rights advocates stepped up and let their voices be heard. There’s no reason for a measure like this to pass, so killing it before it could do any harm is a net win for everyone. The biggest problem, at least in my minds, was that someone actually thought a measure like this was a good idea and figured they could get away with putting it out there.
Hopefully, voters will make their displeasure known come reelection time.