Horry County Council is about to miss another opportunity to crack down on reckless shooting in residential areas.
This week, the council’s public safety committee voted against recommending an ordinance aimed at creating gunfire-free zones in the growing suburbs of unincorporated Horry.
In some ways, this shouldn’t be surprising. For nearly a decade, they’ve struggled to hold accountable those who fire weapons onto others’ property — and sometimes into homes.
Yet the problem persists and most council members have been hesitant, if not resistant, to addressing the issue. What’s particularly frustrating is that some council members have framed these proposed ordinances as an unneeded policy, an assault on the Second Amendment.
Keep in mind, these leaders are the same ones who supported the completely unnecessary “Second Amendment Sanctuary” ordinance, which was approved in April and states that the county will oppose any state or federal law that county officials consider to be an infringement on the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Never mind that this conflicts with the state constitution. Never mind this was a solution for a non-existent problem. Never mind a law professor raised legal concerns about the ordinance. Horry County leaders just had to jump on that bandwagon.
Calling the proposed gunfire ordinance an attack on the Second Amendment is ridiculous. Not only is this not true, it’s a ploy to use a cultural wedge issue (gun rights) to avoid the council’s responsibility to find a solution to a difficult problem. The Second Amendment does not allow people to shoot bullets onto others’ property. The fact that this is even in dispute shows the extent to which some leaders fetishize firearms and devalue human life.
In fact, there are already many places in the county where residents cannot enjoy recreational shooting. They are called cities and most of them have some prohibition on discharging a firearm within their borders. Yet there hasn’t been a strong movement to accuse Myrtle Beach, North Myrtle Beach or Conway leaders of violating citizens’ Second Amendment rights. That’s because most people realize that allowing gunfire in a densely populated area is not good public policy. There’s no reason residents in Carolina Forest, Socastee or Burgess should not be afforded the same reasonable protections.
This isn’t to say the ordinance was perfect. Police, prosecutors and council members raised legitimate concerns about the enforceability of certain aspects of the proposal, and those issues need to be addressed. But rather than continue working on the policy in pursuit of a meaningful, effective ordinance, council again is taking the easy way out.
They’re doing nothing.
Consider this: Horry County has a policy that allows communities to request “fireworks prohibited zones” in the unincorporated areas of the county. That means neighborhoods that don’t want the sparkling noisemakers can ask the county to ban fireworks in those areas. These requests are routinely approved.
What this tells citizens is they shouldn’t have to deal with loud, booming noises that disrupt their lives — unless, of course, those noises involve a firearm. In that case, let the bullets fly.