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Proposed SC gun tax would fund officers in schools

Proposed SC gun tax would fund officers in schools (WCIV)

South Carolina legislators are discussing an amendment to state law that would impose a 7-percent tax increase on handgun sales in the Palmetto State.

Those extra funds, which would generate about $22 million in revenue, would be used to help pay the salaries of student resource officers in schools statewide.

School resource officers in the Lowcountry often bounce between several schools each day. Funding is the greatest hurdle school districts face in making sure all schools have officers on campus all day.

And the Department of Education says about 400 South Carolina schools do not have a School Resource Officer.

Arlyn Pendergast, owner of ATP Gun Shop & Range in Summerville, said Tuesday he doesn't believe the tax would impact handgun purchases, which are his shop's best sellers.

“Handguns are more practical, because the highest probability of you being attacked is inside your home," Pendergast said, adding that handguns outsell rifles and shotguns 2-to-1.

Studies show South Carolina ranks in the top 15 nationally for gun sales and ownership. Pendergast says sales at his store have dipped slightly in recent years (3,000 guns/year), settling into rates seen in the early 2000s.

Pendergast doesn't believe the tax would further drive down sales.

"It won't be good. I don't think it'll be devastating," Pendergast said.

"But I don't think it's right," he added.

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