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Firearms committee continues studying gun issues

Posted: September 5, 2014 5:40 p.m.
Updated: September 8, 2014 5:00 a.m.

The Kershaw County Firearms Discharge Advisory Committee met Thursday to continue searching for a compromise solution to the issue of county residents shooting guns in unincorporated areas of the county.

Kershaw County Councilman Sammie Tucker Jr. organized the committee after a proposed firearm regulation was withdrawn by the council after passing only one reading. Ordinances must pass three separate votes before becoming law. The advisory committee has a stated goal to craft a proposed ordinance for council’s consideration by mid-November.

Committee Chairman William Tetterton, a Camden attorney and former solicitor, outlined a proposed procedure for addressing the matter at the committee’s previous meeting Aug. 18.

Tetterton’s plan is to first identify problems some residents are having with others firing weapons near their homes. The second step is to identify those who use their guns indiscriminately and determine if any areas have more problems than others. Tetterton has encouraged anyone with complaints to come to a committee meeting and tell the details of their experiences. He has also said it would be appropriate to look at existing ordinances that may already cover some firearms issues such as excessive noise, pointing and presenting a firearm or public disorderly conduct. The final phase would be to determine consequences that should be dealt to offenders.

Patrick Valente lives in the Thornton Drive area west of Elgin, where homeowners, including committee member Arlin Rose, have called the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) about gunshots in the area.

“There’s heavy drug activity out there. There’s a severe drug problem and severe shooting problem out there and it doesn’t seem like anything’s being done. It’s gotten real bad in the last six months or so. Unfortunately, we’ve got a lot of rental stuff out there,” Valente said Tuesday. “Every day there’s something that goes on.”

Dep. Michael Lyons represents the KCSO at the committee meetings and provided a stack of reports and a list of complaint calls Tuesday to help the committee determine the areas with the most complaints.

“We’re going to try to pinpoint on a map those locations,” Tetterton said before offering several ordinances he mentioned Aug. 18 that would regulate some firearms activities.

Tetteron said the committee is sensitive to those on both sides of the firearms discussion, noting there have been 4,430 concealed weapon carry permits issued to Kershaw County residents and there are 2,174 licensed hunters.

The committee’s next meeting will be at 6 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 18 in the county council chambers at the Kershaw County Government Center, 515 Walnut St., Camden. It is open to the public.

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