A proposal to extend gun background checks will get a hearing this summer, the head of a South Carolina Senate committee promised last week.
That pledge came after State Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, took to the Senate floor Thursday and blamed Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Larry Martin, R-Pickens, for blocking his gun proposals. Kimpson said he would block debate on a proposed measure allowing Georgia concealed weapons permit holders to carry in South Carolina until his own bills tightening the background check laws get at least a subcommittee hearing.
Martin has previously indicated he views a hearing as a waste of time on bills that have no chance of passing the Republican-controlled Senate.
“He has his instructions to shut the door on gun reform in the state of South Carolina,” Kimpson accused Martin on the chamber floor Thursday. “He is carrying out the will of the National Rifle Association. And I am carrying out the will of the people of District 42 and 80 percent of the South Carolinians in this state who a hearing on background checks.” Kimpson said Thursday.
Martin apologized to Kimpson and said he would schedule a hearing, but he just cannot do it during the legislative session. “I’m going to pledge to you right here and now: We’ll have a hearing later in the summer when we’re adjourned,” Martin responded to Kimpson. “I’ll give you a hearing on expanded background checks. I think that’s fair, I will do that,” he said.
Martin said having a hearing on the issue during the legislative session would have overwhelmed his staff, including hundreds of likely phone calls both for and against the measure.