Local state rep. prefiles bill to ban certain semiautomatic weapons

A Lowcountry state representative has prefiled a bill that looks to ban buying and selling certain semiautomatic weapons across the state.
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 5:21 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2022 at 9:22 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A Lowcountry state representative has prefiled a bill that looks to ban buying and selling certain semiautomatic weapons across the state.

This latest effort will be the fourth time State Rep. Wendell Gilliard, D-Charleston County, has submitted the bill to the statehouse. Despite it never passing through subcommittee the first three times, Gilliard says he’s optimistic he will receive additional bipartisan support to potentially get this bill to a vote.

The bill identifies assault weapons as the following:

  • A semiautomatic rifle with a detachable magazine of 21 or more rounds.
  • All semiautomatic shotguns with a folding stock or more than a six-round magazine.
  • Any firearm modified to operate as an assault weapon.

Gilliard said these weapons should only be in the hands of the military, not private citizens, and the bill would ban any person from owning them if it is passed.

Current state law forbids anyone from possessing a sawed-off weapon, machine gun or military firearm.

The representative said this measure’s goal is to help cut down on the number of mass shootings.

“We cannot allow another day to go by that we would stand by idly and watch our teachers, our children, our parents in such a horrific state, crying for their children and mothers and parents. It has to come to a halt,” Gilliard said.

Should the bill pass, Gilliard said owners of assault weapons would be given a grace period to return the guns or face fines and possible jail time.

Gilliard said he is willing to compromise with fellow lawmakers to move the bill forward.

The first session of the new state legislation begins on Jan. 10.