Banning Assault Weapons

July 28, 2022
Rep. Wendell Gilliard Rep. Wendell Gilliard

Again, I am overwhelmed with the horrific mass shootings in these last few weeks. It has been 10 years since the Sandy Hook School mass shooting in 2012 and we still are being “shocked/rocked” by these public shootings. And still we are having to provide our public condolences to these non-deserving families… citizens. Thank God, South Carolina has been safe in these last few years but we know all too well what these families, these states are going through. Since 2009, there have been 279 mass shootings in the United States, resulting in 1576 people shot and killed and 1046 people shot and wounded (cited from 2022 Report from “Everytown for Gun Safety”). Most of these horrific mass shootings involved an assault weapon. Unfortunately, our gun laws have not changed much.

Assault weapons are SWIFT and DEADLY! A ban must be placed on them. The Federal ban expired in 2004. What we know for a fact is… (cited from 2022 Report from “Everytown for Gun Safety”)

*Assault weapons are generally high-powered semiautomatic firearms where each round has up to four times the muzzle velocity of a handgun round. This means that each round from an assault weapon inflicts greater damage to the human body than a round from a typical handgun.

*Assault weapons are generally designed to fire rounds at a greater rate than other firearms, and when combined with high-capacity magazines, they enable a shooter to fire more rounds over a short period.

*These weapons ARE NOT designed for everyday street life. The inventor, Eugen Stoner, designed the AR-15 and the subsequent M-16 weapon for military battlefields.. as a military rifle. He invented these to give the advantage to our military who were using the AK-47 at the time. It was his intent to make the most efficient and superior rifle possible. Most recently, Mr. Stoner’s children came forth to speak out about the fact that they know that their father (who is deceased) would be saddened and discouraged if he knew that his invention has been used in these mass killings.
*Another note --Six times as many people are shot when assault weapons are used

*Mass shootings that involves an assault weapon account for 25 percent of deaths and 76 percent of injuries

Ladies and gentlemen, we cannot accept this as the norm. There is a moral “evil spirit” moving through this thing called life. As I have stated more times over, we will not be able to eradicate the entire gun problem but we certainly can put laws in place to slow down the intentions of people, to reduce the number of events and reduce the number of fatalities and injuries.
Assault weapons is a sure sign for destruction – they are designed to kill many and to kill as quickly as possible. I have never been more driven than I am today to continue my fight for gun control which I feel that the ban on assault weapons will help with the overall issue of gun control.
One of our major roles as an elected official is to represent and protect our constituency. I stand before you still willing to address the most significant, most deadly problem I feel of our time… guns. I stand before you as a committed elected official who is more driven today than ever before. Will you stand with me?

Thank you and May God continue to bless our state and America.