New rules for discharging firearms in Horry County on private property go beyond limitations nears subdivisions and schools to proposing a countywide restriction.
The new limitations do not apply to the lawful defense of life or property, sporting events or gun clubs, but to negligence or carelessness when firing guns.
The proposed ordinance has been in the works for months by county officials, and will be publicly revealed at 10 a.m. Tuesday during the council’s Public Safety Committee meeting.
“This is our first shot at an ordinance,” said Councilman Johnny Vaught, adding that changes could be made before the final rules are voted on by the full council at a later date.
“To me, it looks like it’s covering what we need to cover, and that last one is a catch-all,” Vaught said, referring to the countywide restriction.
“It’s got to be a little more tightly defined, but that’s the kind of thing that needs to be in there,” Vaught said.
The countywide language states “It shall be unlawful for any person in the unincorporated area of the county to intentionally, negligently, or carelessly discharge any rifle, gun, pistol, revolver, bow or other similar instrument from or by means of which any bullet, shot or other missile of any kind may be projected in a manner as to be likely to cause bodily injury or death to persons or domestic animals or damage to or destruction of property.”
That rule would not apply to licensed gun clubs, firearms range or galleries, or to military or other special events sponsored by the county.
Violating the ordinance would be a misdemeanor charge.
The council suggested new regulations to control the discharge of firearms following a complaint last year by a county resident who said a neighbor was firing weapons too close to his property.
Council members suggested that restrictions on discharging firearms be limited to within certain distances of homes and schools, and the ordinance sets that boundary of 900 feet. That affects all subdivisions of more than 11 houses, parks and public buildings.
That restriction is similar to a proposed ordinance in 2012 that was shot down by the council after residents packed a meeting in opposition to the plan.
Some gun owners now say they are more inclined to accept the restrictions around homes and schools.