Together, we’ll make South Carolina a safer place to live, learn and worship.
Mission: To reduce the public health crisis of gun violence by supporting relevant legislation and educating and inspiring communities across South Carolina to work toward practical solutions.
Who we are: Galvanized by the Emanuel AME tragedy, Arm in Arm is an independent, grassroots group of South Carolinians working to reduce gun violence. Together, we’ll close the loopholes in laws that make it too easy for guns to fall into the wrong hands, while supporting the Second Amendment right of citizens to lawfully own guns.
Gun Violence Is a Public Health Issue
“2015 U.S. Firearms Death Rate Up 7 Percent Over 2014—Highest Rate Since 1997”, an analysis of the latest CDC data that places South Carolina 11th in 2015 death rates per capita (Violence Policy Center 2017).
South Carolina has the fifth-highest rate of gun homicides, ranks second in aggravated assault with a firearm (2005-2014) and is the fifth-leading supplier of guns used in crimes in other states, 82% greater than the national average (2010-2015; CAP analyses, 2016).
SC ranked 9th in a 2014 assessment of states with the worst gun violence (24/7 Wall St 2016) .
Each day in this state during 2016 there were on average 1 death (not including suicide), 2 injuries, and 4 incidents due to gun violence (Gun Violence Archive).
During 2014-2016, fifty-six children age 0-11 were killed or injured, as were 131 teens and 23 officers (Gun Violence Archive).
What Has Been Done
At the Federal level it has not been possible to pass Background Check reform despite the fact that Background Checks have prevented 2.8 million firearm purchases to prohibited persons, 147,000 in 2014 alone (smartgunlaws.org).
Nineteen states have expanded Brady Background checks for all gun sales; seven such laws have been passed since 2013. In Nevada and Washington this occurred through voter driven direct ballot initiatives.
It is up to us, as South Carolinians, to provide these statistically proven modifications to the extant federal Background Check system in our state.
The Current Problem
Gun regulations apply only to federally licensed gun dealers. Twenty-two percent of firearms are being acquired without a background check (Annals of Internal Medicine, 2017), many of them being sold by unlicensed dealers via the internet, gun shows and classified ads.
A survey of state prison inmates in 13 states who were convicted of gun offenses found that only 13.4% obtained the gun through a licensed dealer, and that 96% of those who were ineligible to possess a gun at the time they committed the crime had obtained the weapon through an unlicensed seller. (Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, 2015)
States with expanded background checks, on the other hand, have seen:
- 48% fewer law enforcement officers killed by guns that weren’t their own
- 46% fewer women killed with guns by intimate partners
- 48% fewer gun suicides (Everytown for Gun Safety, 2015)
What Can Be Done
AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL, we support improving the computerized national database by decreasing the time it takes to complete background checks and ATF enforcement of current laws for straw purchasers and those falsifying information on Background Check forms.
AT THE STATE LEVEL, we need legislation now in order to:
- Close the loopholes that allow unlicensed sellers to sell guns without background checks online, at gun shows, through classified ads or any other way.
- Mandate that no guns be sold until background checks are completed.
- Strengthen penalties for violation of gun-sale and gun-possession laws and prosecute “bad apple” gun dealers. Ninety percent of guns used in crimes are being supplied by 5% of dealers. (ATF Bureau, Commerce in Firearms, 2000) Shoplifters, under current SC law, receive increasing penalties for each new conviction, while violators of gun-sale and gun-possession laws receive the same wrist-slap fine no matter how many times they’re convicted.
Broad Support for Our Efforts
Eighty-four percent of South Carolinians want background checks on all gun sales, according to Public Policy Polling’s statewide survey published in 2016, including 82% of Republicans and 86% of Democrats. Three statewide polls taken in the last two years have demonstrated this overwhelming consensus for thorough and completed background checks (Public Policy Polling 2015, 2016; Winthrop Poll, 2015), a support echoed by 83% of gun owners and 72% of NRA members nationally (Center for American Progress, 2015). ?
This is not a partisan issue. We are committed to addressing this urgent public health issue with sensible solutions that do not jeopardize our Second Amendment right to lawfully possess guns, and to pursue educational initiatives to reduce gun violence in South Carolina.
Please join us by emailing gunsenseSC@gmail.com or visiting www.GunSenseSC.org
To make donations:
Arm in Arm, 164 Market St., Suite 103, Charleston, SC 29401
Or donate online.
Percentage of SC voters who support background check legislation!