Shooting range

Horry County Council abandoned an overhaul of the county’s shooting policy Tuesday, instead opting to draft a more narrowly tailored proposal. 

Councilman Dennis DiSabato asked that the ordinance be taken off the agenda. His peers agreed to discuss creating a region-specific policy rather than a broader ordinance.

“We’ve heard from the community,” DiSabato said. “They were in opposition to the ordinance. And I think it’s because it was affecting parts of the county that are in the midst of growth. … What I think we need to do is … maybe instead of using a bazooka, using like a BB gun.”

Specifically, DiSabato wants the council to look at creating zones with more stringent shooting restrictions. He said the county needs to research the constitutionality of such zones, but the idea is to crack down on reckless shooting in densely populated areas like Carolina Forest, where he lives. Those restrictions would not apply to more rural communities, such as Aynor.

“If we need to tighten it up in specific communities, we can do that through an overlay zone,” he said. 

DiSabato has said he wants to prevent stray bullets from flying into yards and houses in densely populated neighborhoods.

The ordinance county officials were scheduled to vote on Tuesday would have prohibited shooting in Longs and most of the county east of the Waccamaw River.

Additionally, it would have barred shooting within 500 feet of developments with at least 11 lots or units.

The proposal drew the ire of some gun enthusiasts, who saw it as unconstitutional.

“This ordinance is an absolute attack on the Second Amendment,” said Chad Caton, a former firefighter who addressed the council Tuesday night. “This is the South. We’re supposed to be about the things we hold dear: God, our guns, the Bill of Rights, the Constitution.” 

After suggesting that the ordinance be pulled off the agenda, DiSabato said he would like to speak with the county police chief about any enforcement action that could be taken under the current law, which was approved in 2017. However, he still plans to study the possibility of an overlay zone.

Despite DiSabato’s goal, councilman Danny Hardee pointed out that a critic of reckless shooting had called those shooters “stupid.”

“I don’t know of any ordinance or any law that we could write to fix stupid,” Hardee said.

Contact Charles D. Perry at 843-488-7236

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I'm the editor of myhorrynews.com and the Carolina Forest Chronicle, a weekly newspaper in Horry County, South Carolina. I cover county government, the justice system and agriculture. Know of a story that needs to be covered? Call me at 843-488-7236.

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