A South Carolina lawmaker who introduced a bill that would ban assault weapons and devices that increase the firing speed on some guns says she is disappointed it will not go anywhere this legislative session.
State Rep. Wendy Brawley, D-Richland, introduced H.4975 on February 21 — one week after the deadly shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida. However the bill was not taken up in subcommittee until Wednesday, one day after the critical “crossover” deadline.
The House Constitutional Laws Subcommittee ran out of time and adjourned before getting to Brawley’s bill. The meeting did not start on time and had to adjourn within an hour because the House session was about to begin.
“For the committee to start as late as it did almost guaranteed that it would not be heard today,” Brawley said afterwards. “But this is an important issue. We’re not going away. I’m happy to see so many people out to support this bill. We are not giving up because it’s about saving lives.”
Since the bill was not passed by either chamber before the April 10 crossover deadline, it will require a supermajority to pass. That means the controversial bill is effectively dead for this legislative session.
“The bill has been introduced since February the 21st,” she said. “We took up a Senate bill that was introduced after that and it passed favorably out of . . . the subcommittee today. So you be the judge,” Brawley responded when asked if she thought if the committee’s timing was intentional.
“Next session, I’ll refile this bill,” she said. “I’ll prefile it in early filing in preparation for the next session of the General Assembly… “I hope I have the same level of support when we do,” Brawley said.
To which the bill’s supporters who surrounded her said, “yes” and “absolutely.”
After the subcommittee meeting adjourned, Brawley thanked those supporters, including members of Moms Demand Action, who attended the standing-room-only meeting.
The bill included banning the sale, use, and possession of assault weapons, high-volume magazines, and bump stocks or devices that can convert a conventional gun into one that has an accelerated rate of fire.
Brawley said she thought it was inappropriate for South Carolina Congressman Ralph Norman to pull out a handgun while speaking at a constituent meeting in Rock Hill last week. Norman said he was trying to make a point about gun safety. Brawley disagrees.
“I don’t think it was appropriate at all,” she said. “It was very much so inappropriate given the audience that he was having the meeting with. It was an intimidation tactic. We don’t scare easily and we know that people will try every trick available to them to get us to back off reasonable gun legislation. But reasonableness is what we have to look for and what he did in that diner was unreasonable.”