Stick to your guns, South Carolina — and take them away from abusers

Lawmakers at the South Carolina Statehouse are considering a gun prohibition for batterers in legislation concerning domestic violence.

A state lawmaker in Nevada said earlier this week that cancer is a just a fungus — wash that stuff out with saltwater and you’ll be fine.

In Oklahoma, state legislators want to cut funding to Advanced Placement U.S. History courses because it does not simply say that, in the past, everything in this country was just awesome.

And in Idaho, a male lawmaker asked if women could swallow tiny cameras so doctors could check the status of their pregnancies — apparently believing the stomach is connected to the lady parts.

And this week the South Carolina state Senate passed legislation to ramp up penalties for people convicted of criminal domestic violence — including taking away their guns for up to 10 years.

Isn’t it great to look like the smart kids for once?

This state has a serious problem with domestic violence. In the past decade more than 300 women have been killed by their significant others. That statistic puts South Carolina at the top of a very ugly list.

The Legislature is responsible for addressing such problems and the Senate has proven that, in bipartisan fashion, lawmakers can do good work (well, except for a few lunkheads — including Sens. Tom “lesser cut of meat” Corbin and Lee “AR-15s for all” Bright).

Now we just have to hope that the state House of Representatives shows as much common sense.

Criminal domestic violence is one of the biggest agenda items facing the General Assembly this year, as it should be.

After The Post and Courier series “Till Death Do Us Part” highlighted the epidemic of violence against women in South Carolina, state officials held hearings and fast-tracked legislation to increase penalties on people convicted of these horrible crimes.

Experts on domestic violence and sexual abuse have testified before lawmakers, and they clearly showed the link between these incidents and guns. Which wasn’t too difficult — these folks aren’t killing their wives with Ginsu knives and chainsaws.

The current House version of the bill does not include a gun ban, but now the Senate has forced the hand of their colleagues across the hall.

Thanks to an amendment by Charleston Sen. Chip Campsen, which allows for judges to use their discretion on the ban in some cases, the bill is now palatable to all but the most feverish Second Amendment defenders.

Even state Rep. Chip Limehouse — perhaps the most pro-gun member of the House — says this is a reasonable, needed remedy to a very big problem.

“I’m a lifetime member of the NRA, but if it’s a volatile situation, handguns are probably not a good idea,” Limehouse says. “No one is taking away anyone’s gun rights, I don’t support that. But I support common sense, and this is just common sense.”

Limehouse says the part about the judge having discretion to revoke concealed weapons permits will help pave the way to passage in the House, and he intends to support it.

If a man with an A-plus rating from the NRA can get onboard with this, so can everyone else.

State Rep. David Mack is not anti-gun, and points out that this bill isn’t aimed at hunters or people who want to protect their homes.

This is just another regulation, no different than telling people they can’t drive on the wrong side of the road or speed. A person’s rights only extend to the point someone else is in harm’s way.

To address the problem of domestic violence, Mack says you have to face the fact that many of the women that are being killed are shot.

“You can’t do anything without some serious thought — this is for the common good,” Mack says.

He’s right, and he’s urging everyone to let his House colleagues know how they feel. That’s a good idea.

Of course, this should be a no-brainer to anyone, despite the usual suspects harping that this will violate people’s rights. That’s propaganda to encourage political donations.

State Rep. Jim Merrill says he isn’t sure how the House will fall on this, but taking away the gun rights of someone convicted of domestic violence is nowhere near a show-stopper for him.

“Anyone who beats women and children pretty much lose all their civil rights, as far as I’m concerned,” Merrill says. “I’m just glad we’re finally doing something.”

Amen to that.

Is the law perfect? No, few are. But it is a step in the right direction.

South Carolina has a chance here to defy political expectations, do something good — something meaningful — and tackle a serious problem.

Let’s not screw this up, gang.

Reach Brian Hicks at bhicks@postandcourier.com