By Paul Gable
Where guns can be fired is a question Horry County Council will struggle with over the next several months.
Infrastructure and Regulation Committee Chairman Johnny Vaught told a group of concerned citizens from the Hillsborough sub-division Tuesday that the county would not be locating a public firing range on Horry County Solid Waste Authority property near their development.
This announcement ended months of concern for those citizens that their peaceful community would be disrupted with the sound of weapons being fired nearby.
Vaught said the county would continue to look for a suitable piece of property in the more rural sections of the county in which to possibly locate a firing range.
Whether the county should get into the firing range business at all is a legitimate question being asked by citizens throughout the county. There are several privately owned firing ranges already in the county and there is strong feeling among some citizens that government should not compete with private business.
The Horry County Public Safety Committee discussed a different gun problem the day before. There is increasing concern among the county’s many sub-divisions of residents taking target practice on their property even though they are in close proximity to neighboring homes.
Horry County Council member Paul Prince said something should be done to prohibit such activity in sub-divisions where the houses are close together.
It’s been slightly over four years since Horry County Council decided not to vote on an ordinance that would restrict gun usage on private property in close proximity to other residences.
At that time, the ‘Duck Dynasty crowd’, in full camouflage, packed council chambers to protest any restriction on their 2nd Amendment rights with respect to where they could fire their guns in the unincorporated areas of the county.
In the interim, nothing has changed.
It would seem to be a matter of common sense that a person wouldn’t discharge a gun so that the bullets end up in a neighbor’s yard, especially if the neighbor is standing in his yard. But, that doesn’t seem to be the case in Horry County.
As I recall the discussion last time, wasn’t about where the gun was discharged, but, rather, about where the projectile could land that was considered being restricted. And that discussion didn’t even get to first reading of an ordinance.
There is no law in Horry County prohibiting discharge of firearms within a certain proximity of residences, according to county attorney Arrigo Carotti.
The 2nd Amendment always plays a prominent part in these discussions. It must be remembered, the 2nd Amendment, as defined by a 2010 Supreme Court decision, basically gives a person the right to own weapons of his choosing. It does not, however, guarantee a right of unfettered discharge of those weapons anywhere, anytime for any (or no) reason.