Unincorporated Dorchester County residents upset about lack of gun ordinance

DORCHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – Some residents in unincorporated Dorchester County are concerned about their neighbors discharging firearms, just feet away from their homes.

Dorchester County Councilman David Chinnis said that some of his constituents in the Greenhurst subdivision near Summerville, in the Fairlawn neighborhood in Ladson and elsewhere have reported that people are shooting guns in their backyards in residential areas.

There is no ordinance that prohibits the discharge of a firearm in residential areas that are located in unincorporated parts of the county and some want that to change.

Councilman Chinnis, who said he is a member of the National Rifle Association, is in favor of passing a new gun ordinance. He said an ordinance is needed to stop some from recklessly discharging a firearm.

“The discharge ordinance would affect areas that are zoned residential and only areas that are zoned residential,” said Councilman Chinnis. “And it would probably prohibit the random discharge of firearms unless you were protecting life, family, property.”

There is an ordinance in the Town of Summerville that prohibits the discharge of a firearm, except in self-defense situations, but the ordinance does not apply in subdivisions like Greenhurst, that are outside of town limits.

This is not the first time that a gun ordinance was discussed in the county. In 2012, County Council considered passing a gun ordinance for residential areas but it was voted down after the National Rifle Association started an e-mail campaign that created opposition.

Councilman Chinnis said a new gun ordinance could potentially be discussed at a County Council Public Safety, Health and Human Services Committee meeting in February. It would require three readings and public input before council can potentially pass the ordinance.

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