Governor Henry McMaster of South Carolina is once again calling on state lawmakers to enact stricter penalties for illegal gun possession and overhaul the bond process in the state.
“Put an end to that revolving door. How much longer will we wait?” exclaimed McMaster on Tuesday.
This plea has been a consistent message from the governor for months, and currently, during the special session, the General Assembly has the opportunity to take action.
On Tuesday, McMaster was joined by Trooper B.A. Frazier, who was shot in the face during a traffic stop in Bamberg County in April.
According to investigators, the alleged shooter was in possession of a stolen gun and was out on bond in Georgia.
“He should never have been stopped for speeding that night by Trooper Frazier,” stated Robert Woods, director of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety. “He should never have had contact with him. He should never have been out there. It’s moments like these when you realize this is just senseless. This should never happen.”
The governor is urging lawmakers to strengthen penalties for the possession of illegal guns.
The House of Representatives included these penalties in a larger bill that would allow adults in South Carolina to carry guns without a permit or training.
However, the Senate has yet to debate this controversial bill on permitless carry and, instead, added the illegal gun penalties to another bill aimed at criminalizing fentanyl trafficking.
But these penalties would only apply to individuals convicted of certain drug offenses.
McMaster argues that such limitations are insufficient. He asked, “Why restrict it to only fentanyl crimes? What about rape? What about assault and battery? What about murder?”
Additionally, the governor is urging legislators to present him with a bond reform bill to address what he perceives as a revolving door, where individuals commit crimes while out on bond for other offenses.
“We are aware that these repeat offenders will strike again,” he asserted.
This week, South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and SLED Chief Mark Keel penned a letter to lawmakers emphasizing the necessity of passing this bill to establish much-needed standards for electronically monitoring individuals out on bond.
“When individuals fail to fulfill their duty of monitoring violent criminals once they are back in society and out on bond, we need to be able to hold them accountable,” said Wilson.