HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina lawmakers are convening in the State House for the legislative session.
Among the proposals up for discussion is one that would create a fee for all gun sales.
The proposal is meant to help fund school safety, and it would do so by taking on a 7 percent fee on all gun sales in the state.
Under the proposal introduced by a pair of state lawmakers, the money would go toward funding school resource officers. Representatives Wendy Brawley and Ivory Thigpen said more than 600 schools across the state are operating without SROs because of a lack of funding.
However, schools in Horry County either have an SRO or a school security officer, depending on where they are in the county. Right now, there’s one armed officer per school.
One local gun store owner said implementing such a fee on sales is a punishment to gun owners and believes there are better ways to find funding for school safety.
"It’s kind of like making drivers pay for using the road. It’s something that everybody uses. School safety is an issue for everybody. It should be something that comes out of the school budget and the school taxes, not just focusing on the firearm itself,” said Robert Battista, owner of 707 Gun Shop in Horry County.
Battista said should lawmakers pass the legislation, he believes the added fee wouldn’t negatively impact gun sales despite the added cost.
The lawmakers estimate the state could bring in $22 million from a fee on gun purchases in S.C.