HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - It was a packed council chamber on Tuesday night as Horry County Council held a public hearing regarding an ordinance that would declare the county a Second Amendment sanctuary.
If passed, it would protect Horry County residents' right to bear arms and ensure they won't have to comply if state or federal government officials change any laws.
More than half the people at the meeting were wearing orange stickers that read “Guns Save Lives,” but they weren’t the only ones who had their chance to speak before Horry County Council before leaders voted on the issue.
Once the meeting began, Horry County Chairman Johnny Gardner allotted 30 minutes for public comment regarding the ordinance from those both for and against it.
“It is way past time that we lift up our heads, stand up and say enough is enough, councilmen I urge you to pass this board,” said Steve Hoffman, who is in favor of the ordinance.
”Just the other day, two brothers were killed from gun violence, so why are we here today to commit to bear arms,” said Elizabeth Bowen who argued against the ordinance.
After hearing from both sides, Horry County Council responded to some of the citizens’ concerns.
”We’re not saying as a council that we’re opening up Horry County for a total free for all, because there are a lot of responsible gun owners in Horry County right now,” said councilman Al Allen.
With many concerns regarding gun violence, one resident shared a unique story about the night his home was broken into.
”I have been shot by a gun and I have to tell you I am for this resolution. If I had a weapon I would’ve been able to defend myself and unfortunately, at the time I did not,” said resident Christopher Verta.
Others expressed fear the ordinance will impact Horry County’s number one financial driver: tourism.
”Tourism, safety, family fun outings, this is what the citizens of Horry County want, please do not adopt this,” said resident Wendy Barouche.
Following the public hearing, Horry County Council voted to approve the second reading of the Second Amendment Sanctuary ordinance by a vote of 10 to 1.
Gardner said he was glad to hear from both sides of the aisle and help give some a better understanding of what this ordinance means.
”What council did tonight was a really good job. I think Al Allen did a wonderful job educating the public about what we are exactly trying to accomplish and whether or not someone believes in the Second Amendment, I think they left here knowing a little bit more about it,” said Gardner.
The only councilmember not to vote in favor of the ordinance was councilman Harold Worley.
The third and final reading of the Second Amendment Sanctuary ordinance will take place in two weeks at 6 p.m. on March 24.