Report: SC among worst in nation in shooting violence

WASHINGTON (WCIV) -- South Carolina ranks among the worst in gun crimes in the nation, ranked 10th on a list recently compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and an analysis firm, 24/7 Wall St.

According to the CDC, there are an average of 14.8 gun-related deaths per 100,000 people. Between 2002 and 2011 there were more than 6,000 firearms deaths in the state.

It's a ranking that is not sitting well with most lawmakers and an issue with many viewpoints. The same day Gov. Nikki Haley accepted a commemorative gun from PTR Industries in Horry County, the CDC released its rankings.

State Rep. Wendell Gilliard said he was not surprised.

"How can we be in a state that is almost at the top of the totem pole with gun violence and here our leaders are out promoting guns. You see that's what we call the perfect storm," he said.

Currently, South Carolina does not require permits to purchase rifles, shot guns, or hand guns. It's also not required for gun owners to register their weapons.

"We have to toughen our gun laws because if we don't, it's sad to say we will always be in that danger zone," Gilliard said.

Gilliard hopes through stricter laws with harsher penalties, gin violence will become less of an issue.

Not all lawmakers share his sentiment.

"I don't think there has been a real proven correlation that I have seen between adding more laws to folks that are already breaking the books," said Rep. Mark Sanford.

Sanford says a number of factors play a role in the rise of gun violence, including economics and social structures within families.

John Roman, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute, however said there was a definite link between strong gun laws and the rate of gun violence.

"The overwhelming trend is that strong gun law states have seen dramatic declines in violence. Weak gun law states have not seen the same decline," he said.

One thing bow lawmakers do agree on is that there's no easy answer or quick fix that will put an end to the ongoing battle.

According to the CDC, which tracks the number of gun-related fatalities each year including homicides, suicides, and accidents in each state, Louisiana has the highest rate of gun-related fatalities in the country with 18.8 deaths per 100,000 residents.

The lowest in the country is Rhode Island with just 3.0 deaths per 100,000 residents.

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