S.C. to Trump: Come here and talk about guns
By Phil Noble
The papers this week had big stories about Donald Trump speaking to the National Rifle Association convention and accepting their endorsement. Among his promises to the NRA was his vow to eliminate gun-free zones in schools on his first day in office.
In Trump’s typical over the top rhetoric, he proclaims himself the greatest defender of the Second Amendment in the history of the world.
No surprise here – that’s Trump.
But, I wonder if Trump would come to Charleston, stand in front of Mother Emanuel Church and explain to everyone why he supports keeping the ‘Charleston loophole’ – and opposes pretty much every common sense measure that has been proposed to keep guns out of the hands of the likes of Dylann Roof?
Will this guy who says he always ‘tells it like it is’ … the guy who like the school yard bully (that he is) loudly proclaims he’s such a tough guy with guts, etc… come explain his NRA endorsement to the families of the Emanuel Nine?
Don’t hold your breath.
In fact, it’s not just the families of the Emanuel Nine that might have a problem with Trump’s radical gun policies – it’s most of the state of South Carolina.
The three most recent public opinion polls show that the attitudes of people in our state are not what the most rabid NRA extremist would have you think there are. A few hard numbers from a Sept. 10, 2015 PPP poll:
• 89% of voters in the state support background checks on all gun purchases, compared to only 7% who are opposed. This includes 91% of Republicans, 90% of Democrats, and 85% of independents in favor of these background checks;
• 77% think there should be a waiting period before purchasing a gun to only 11% opposed. 86% of Democrats, 75% of Republicans, and 67% of independents support waiting periods.
Dylann Roof was able to buy a gun because his background check had not been completed before the mandatory three day waiting period had elapsed – and thus he got his gun. This provision that defaults to gun purchasers getting the gun if their background check is not completed in three days, is now called the “Charleston loophole.”
The findings of an Oct. 15, 2015 Winthrop Poll shows that overwhelmingly South Carolinians – regardless of party – want the Charleston loophole closed:
• 80% of South Carolinians polled say they would support legislation requiring background checks be completed before a would-be gun buyer can have a firearm;
• 80% of Republicans and 83% of Democrats agreed with closing the loophole.
Winthrop Poll author Dr. Scott Huffmon said of the results: “Most folks of any political stripe don’t see this as a gun-grab-type measure … I would hazard to guess that most people had no idea that the background check did not have to be completed before you got a gun.”
An earlier Feb. 20, 2015 PPP poll on the broader issues of gun ownership found that common sense is overwhelming gun extremists’ positions in South Carolina. This poll found:
• 76 to 14% support a law preventing domestic abusers from buying guns. Republican support was 71-17% in favor of such laws;
• 64 to 24% support making convicted abusers turn in any guns they currently own. Among Republicans they favored the measure 61 – 27%;
• 61 to 27 % believe that guns should not be allowed on college campuses.
So, who is it in South Carolina that is whipping up the gun nut hysteria? Let me give you a few more facts and statistics:
• In 2015, South Carolina led the nation with the largest rate of ‘lost or stolen’ firearms per 100 licensed dealers reported to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF);
• The rate of ‘lost and stolen firearms’ in S.C. was 25.3 per 100 licensed dealers; the U.S. average was 15.4;
• In S.C. today, there is no limit on how many guns a person can buy at any given time in a ‘private sale’;
• In 2009, the number of guns used in commission of a crime exported out of S.C. per 100,000 residents was more than twice the national average according to ATF.
It’s pretty clear: the people of South Carolina have reasonable and responsible views on gun safety. It is the Statehouse politicians that do the bidding of (and take the money from) the gun lobby/NRA/Donald Trump types, who are the problem.
Trump is obviously not going to come to Charleston and explain his views to the families of the Emanuel Nine. However, if there is a member of the S.C. Legislature that would be willing to come explain their opposition to closing the Charleston loophole – let me know, I’ll set up the meeting.
My email address is below.
Phil Noble is a businessman in Charleston and President of the SC New Democrats, an independent reform group started by former Gov. Richard Riley to bring big change and real reform. email@example.com