Committee kills proposal to require gun owners to report lost or stolen weapons

VIDEO: Committee kills proposal to require gun owners to report lost or stolen weapons

MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCSC) - Mount Pleasant committee members decided not to move forward on a proposed ordinance that would require gun owners to report if their weapon becomes lost or stolen.

The proposal was first brought before the town’s police, judicial, and legal committee last month. Town council member Guang Ming Whitley said then she was inspired by a similar town law in a different state, and it could help the police department have better data on lost or stolen weapons.

On Monday, the proposed ordinance was discussed again, but it gained no support from the other three on the committee: Mayor Will Haynie and council members Laura Hyatt and Jake Rambo.

“I’ve heard a lot of feedback from constituents who feel very strongly about this issue, one way or the other,” Rambo said. “I don’t know that we as council members of the Town of Mount Pleasant should be getting into these ordinances that people feel restrict any sort of constitutional rights.”

In 2019, more than half of the reported stolen guns in the town were from unlocked cars, according to Mount Pleasant Police Chief Carl Ritchie.

“[In] 2019, the town of Mount Pleasant had 50 guns stolen from cars. Of those 50, 37 of those vehicles were unlocked," Ritchie said. "If those 37 vehicles had been locked there’s a good chance we would have 37 less guns in the hands of criminals who are looking to use them for other reasons.”

The town’s attorney was set to draft the ordinance. Whitley said the town would’ve then sought an opinion from the state’s attorney general.

“There is a very broad state law that says municipalities can not make ordinances regulating the ownership of guns or the transfer of weapons," she said last month. “I think this falls out from underneath that, because this isn’t about regulating ownership or transfer. This is simply about reporting lost or stolen weapons.”

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