State Watch

Lawmakers propose 7 percent fee on gun sales in South Carolina

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Two state lawmakers in South Carolina have introduced legislation that calls for a 7 percent fee to be added to all gun sales.

Reps. Wendy Brawley and Ivory Thigpen, both Democrats, proposed the legislation with the hope that the money made would be used to fund more school resource officers, according to local NBC outlet WYFF.

“The governor made placing an SRO [school resource officer] in every school in South Carolina — public school — a major campaign issue and we would hope that he was serious about that because this gives us a very good head-start toward getting toward that goal and we are hoping that he will support this and will encourage others in his party to do the same,” Brawley told the local outlet.

{mosads}The two lawmakers estimate $22 million in revenue could be made from the fee on gun purchases. They say more than 600 schools in South Carolina are currently without a school resource officer, primarily because of a lack of funding.

Brawley and Thigpen said they hope the proposal can garner bipartisan support and that they in no way are trying to take guns away from citizens of the state.

“We live in a state where people buy guns and people own guns. We’re not in any way saying that people shouldn’t do that. As a matter of fact, people have every right to. What we are saying is that we need recurring revenue and funds to provide the type of security and safety that our children need,” Thigpen said.

A statement from the office of Gov. Henry McMaster (R) regarding the proposal decried the idea of adding a tax to guns and said funds for resource officers must be found in other ways.

“The governor has said before that we cannot tax our way to prosperity. New taxes or fees will slow economic growth and unduly burden the people of South Carolina,” the statement read.

“Governor McMaster was the first to start talking about the need for school resource officers last year in his state of the state address and secured more than $2 million in the final budget for a pilot program to begin the process of reaching his goal of having a certified law enforcement officer in every school, in every county, all day, every day. Reaching that goal is a matter of prioritizing existing funds — not simply taxing and spending.”


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