Lawmaker presses new idea for curbing gun violence
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - In the wake of massing shootings across the country and several shootings in the Charleston area, State Representative Wendell Gilliard (D-111) is willing to try just about anything to curb gun violence.
“It’s good to push the envelope because we cannot just stand idly by as gun violence continues to increase day by day,” Gilliard said.
This week, Gilliard is trying a new approach. He says he wants cities to consider enacting ordinances that requires new development to provide security measures to protect tenants.
Some of those security arrangements would include things like security cameras and paid security officers. He is specifically talking about new, multi-family housing complexes, like apartments.
“The apartment complexes, all these companies that own these complexes, they should be held accountable and liable as far as safety for their residents,” Gilliard said.
His proposed ordinance would also require apartment complexes to maintain viable neighborhood associations to help prevent crime.
He wants to see developers include security details in plans when their project is considered by city councils.
“That would be an awesome move from the local municipal part to go ahead and create an ordinance to make them more accountable for safety in these apartment complexes,” Gilliard said.
Gilliard says these measures would prevent criminal activity that leads to shootings.
“Nothing is a solve-all, but I think this would help,” Gilliard said.
In addition to the ordinance, Gilliard has also said he would like to ban all guns from apartment complexes. He says tenants would be allowed to keep weapons inside their units, but they should be required to disclose how many and what kind of guns they have as part of the tenant approval process.
Others argue that the proposal would simply contribute to Charleston’s gentrification problem and send rent prices even higher.
Charleston resident Donald McLoryd says extra security measures will not address the root problems associated with gun crimes, but a strong emphasis on community associations could help.
“People need to know their neighbors and be a community,” McLoryd said. He says he remembers a neighbor would yell at him when he was doing something wrong as a child. He says she kept him out of trouble.
Gilliard says he is working with lawmakers to work out the exact language of a potential ordinance.
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