MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — In 11 shootings across the News13 viewing area in the past week, eight people died while another six people were injured.
This past week was the deadliest stretch so far this year in the News13 viewing area while the number of shootings is actually down about 10% from this same time last year.
“We have to be on our guard 24 hours a day because gun violence is all around us,” Moms Demand Action South Carolina Senior Survivor Fellow Melody McFadden said.
McFadden’s niece, Sandy Barnwell was shot and killed in Myrtle Beach Memorial Day weekend 2014. The shooting happened on Ocean Boulevard in front of hundreds of witnesses, but the case remains unsolved.
“She would’ve been right beside me making a difference in the world,” McFadden said.
McFadden and Moms Demand Action South Carolina are pushing for tighter gun laws as well as more funding for violence interrupter programs statewide.
“If we had stronger laws in place to conduct a proper background check, if we had people that care about saving lives in office, then we can make a difference in South Carolina,” McFadden said.
McFadden said that she is a veteran and supports gun ownership and even owns a gun herself. She wants more limits on who can own a gun.
Rep. Tom Rice, R-7th District said the main reason for gun violence in the area is because of gangs.
“Much, if not all of it, is related to gang violence and the root of it is drugs,” Rice said.
Rice thinks one solution is to increase policing. He introduced a bipartisan bill that would allow police departments to use federal funds to hire more officers while offering higher salaries.
“The pay is low, and the risks are high,”Rice said. “They’re demoralized by this whole nonsense about defund the police.”
The bill would also make it easier for police departments in our area to go after grant funding by lowering the share of matching funds.
“I think that’s got a good chance to pass,” Rice said. “And the second thing is we’ve got to keep guns out of the hands of people who shouldn’t have them legally.”
Rice also backs another bill that he said would strengthen background checks by alerting state and local law enforcement when the national database flags someone who’s not allowed tries to buy a gun.
Sunday morning’s deadly shooting in Myrtle Beach involved people from Florence County, according to Myrtle Beach police who said the four people shot plus two of the identified suspects are all from Florence County.
Myrtle Beach Mayor Brenda Bethune said illegal guns and people coming from outside the city to settle arguments are top factors contributing to the city’s gun violence.
“Settle your differences at home,” Bethune said. “Don’t bring your issues here because we work tirelessly to work hard to make this a fun, safe community for everyone, but we can’t control who crosses those borders.”