By SEANNA ADCOX
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The Senate Judiciary chairman says it's time for lawmakers to face South Carolina's domestic abuse problem and bar abusers from owning guns.
A bill introduced by Sen. Larry Martin is designed to reduce the state's dismal death statistics. South Carolina has long ranked among the nation's worst in violence against women.
Key to Martin's proposal is a weapons ban. An abuser could not possess a gun while under protective orders and those convicted of domestic violence could not possess a gun for a decade.
The Pickens Republican says he expects opposition from gun rights enthusiasts. But he says abusers are cowards who shouldn't be able to hide behind the Second Amendment to further intimidate and abuse their family.
His proposal is based on a law passed in Louisiana last May.