HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - Horry County Council voted on Tuesday to move forward with an ordinance that would declare the county a Second Amendment sanctuary.
Horry County Council approved the first reading of the ordinance. It must go before two more readings.
If approved, the ordinance would protect the rights of residents to bear arms and ensure they would not have to comply in the event state or federal government officials try to take their guns.
During the council meeting, those for and against the ordinance spoke up.
“I’ve been here for 90 years. I haven’t spent any time in jail, haven’t been arrested, but people want to take my weapon away,” said one Horry County resident.
“My 11-year-old son was at a friend’s house, they came across a gun and his 12-year-old friend picked it up and our son was shot and killed,” said gun education activist Mylissa Bellamy.
A lot of the discussion regarding Second Amendment sanctuaries stems from Virginia, according to Councilman Johnny Vaught.
“People are reacting to the situation in Virginia. They have what I would call a rouge governor. He’s a southern governor and he’s obviously totally against Second Amendment rights and is talking about taking people’s guns away from them and all that. And I think you’ve got probably 30 counties in Virginia that have declared themselves as sanctuary counties,” Vaught said.
Vaught has said he doesn’t find the sanctuary ordinance necessary because of where the state stands on the issue, which is in line with the Second Amendment. He doesn’t see the need for a Second Amendment sanctuary unless the state was going to infringe on gun rights for citizens.
“I’m certainly not against the ordinance, but I’m against making any laws that are unnecessary. I see this one at this point in time as being unnecessary,” Vaught said. “I totally believe if there was a movement afoot in South Carolina to infringe on Second Amendment rights, I would be leading the fight.”
After public comment, Vaught requested the county’s lawyer to explain what becoming a sanctuary county would mean from a legal standpoint during executive session.
But, councilmembers Al Allen and Dennis DiSabato felt the motion was out of order.
“If we are going to receive legal advice on this, I think it should be out here in the public where the citizens can also hear,” Allen said.
Vaught later revoked his motion for legal advice.
There will be a second reading on Feb. 18 at 6 p.m. where the public will have their chance to talk before the council.
“Any time you talk about the citizens right to bear arms there’s going to be interest, in a lot of opinions. I really do value all the opinions and told you day one I represent the minority and I want everyone gets a chance to express their opinion,” Horry County Council Chairman Johnny Gardner said.