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States With Smart Gun Laws Have Significantly Lower Gun Death Rates. South Carolina's Gun Laws Are Rated "F" by Law Center

By Penny Okamoto, Executive Director of Ceasefire Oregon

Today, Ceasefire Oregon and the Ceasefire Oregon Education Foundation join President Barack Obama and millions of other Americans in remembering the victims of the tragic shooting at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

As we, along with other gun violence prevention groups across the nation, continue to cope with the grief that accompanies tragedy on such a significant scale, we’re reminded of all the victims of gun violence–more than 30,000 fatalities in the United States each year.

Ceasefire Oregon and the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence would like to take a few minutes to remind you that states with smart gun laws have significantly lower gun death rates than states with little regulation. South Carolina’s gun laws are among the weakest in the nation–it scored an F on our annual Gun Law State Scorecard–and it has the fifth highest gun homicide rate in the country, 41 percent higher than the national average.

So many lives in South Carolina could be saved each year if lawmakers adopted a few simple, commonsense policies:

Universal Background Checks: Current federal law leaves open a deadly loophole that allows prohibited people to easily buy guns through unlicensed sales.

Gun Violence Restraining Orders: This law empowers families to petition a court to remove guns from relatives who pose a risk to themselves or others.

Permit to Purchase: Several states require handgun buyers to obtain a “permit to purchase” from local law enforcement, adding an additional layer of screening.

Hate Crime Laws: South Carolina is one of only five states without a hate crime law, a shameful omission in 2015.

All lives matter–and effective gun laws save lives.