June 15, 2021

Former Congressman and Democratic candidate for Governor Joe Cunningham released his plan to combat gun violence in South Carolina at a press conference this morning in downtown Charleston. Cunningham was joined by community leaders as he laid out his vision for reform while also criticizing the lack of legislative action to prevent gun violence. 


“In the six years since the Mother Emanuel tragedy, little has changed,” Cunningham said in remarks. “The murderer who committed these atrocities could get a gun just as easily today as he did six years ago. Despite the fact that we have reached historic highs for violent crime, the legislature’s only action on gun violence has been to make it easier to carry a firearm in this state. The current leadership has failed.”


Cunningham’s plan includes:

  • Closing the Charleston loophole

  • Expanding background checks on all gun sales

  • Fully funding statewide hospital-based and community-based violence prevention programs


Closing the Charleston loophole would lengthen the time for a background check to be completed from 3 days to 10 days. Expanding background checks would require that background checks be performed on private sales and gun show sales. Currently, these methods of sale are exempt from performing background checks. The third component of Cunningham’s plan would fully fund statewide hospital-based and community-based violence prevention programs to identify high-risk victims of violence and intervene with trained client advocates to prevent recidivism, reduce retaliation, and improve outcomes by addressing the root causes of violence.


While in Congress, Cunningham sponsored and passed bills out of the House to close the Charleston loophole and expand background checks


Cunningham announced his run for Governor in April and is currently on a 46-county tour of the state.