Local dems call to ban 'killing machines.' But can guns 'get up and shoot somebody?'

Horry County Democratic Party Chair protests against assault weapons on Sunday.
Horry County Democratic Party Chair protests against assault weapons on Sunday. cboschult@thesunnews.com

On a sunny Sunday, Horry County Democratic Party Chair Bennie Swans sat in a chair on the sidewalk across the street from the Myrtle Beach Convention Center.

This weekend, the convention center was the site for gun show, and Swans and a group of more than 50 protesters had decided to set up across the street to call for a ban on so-called "assault" rifles.

"We want to see an all-out ban on assault weapons," Swans said. "We believe that AR-15s and those kind of weapons are meant for killing human beings. They’re not meant for hunting rabbits or hunting deer. They’re not meant for target practice, they’re killing machines. And that’s exactly what they’ve done."

The protest took place in the wake of the Valentine's Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Nikolas Cruz, 19, is accused of slaughtering 17 people at the school using an AR-15-style Smith and Wesson M&P 15, according to the Associated Press.

Karleigh Campman, a 15-year-old Carolina Forest High School student, also attended the protest.

"I think something should be done about the guns law with everything going on, it is not okay," she said. "Action needs to be taken. If it’s the little things like coming out here that will help anything at all, then I’m willing to do that."

A protester hold a sign during a demonstration Sunday in Myrtle Beach. Christian Boschult cboschult@thesunnews.com

Campman said she believed guns were the root of the problem.

"Yea, they have mental health issues, but if they didn’t have a way to get to the gun or anything like that, if they had done deeper background checks, then none of this would have happened," she said. "No one would be shot at school, there wouldn’t be these mass shootings if the guns weren’t around."

But not everybody thinks guns should take all the blame.

"A gun can’t get up and shoot somebody," said Morgan Altman, a Myrtle Beach resident attending the gun show. "It takes a person to shoot someone; someone that has a problem, someone that has not been talked to, someone that can’t sort through their issues. I can’t sit there and wait for my gun to stand up and shoot me. It’s just not going to happen."

But Altman didn't deny there was a problem with shootings, and said she was worried about putting her 1 year-old daughter in a public school, and would rather put her in a private school or home-school her.

"Right now I’m terrified to put my child in a public school, because these teachers have no defense mechanism against somebody coming in and shooting a school up," she said. " I feel like if these teachers have the proper training and can eventually get armed, it would prevent so many things from happening."

Kyle Robinson said he blamed social media for "corrupting" people.

"Everybody gets so hurt over something somebody else says," Robinson said. "The way the world is nowadays, people are just worried what others think so badly."

He said a student at his school threatened to bring a gun to class one day, but nothing ever came of it.

"It never got widespread because of social media and nothing really did happen because kids were actually able to up and act on it and turn him in before anything could happen," Robinson said. "Kids need to get off social media and get back into church."

Christian Boschult, 843-626-0218, @TSN_Christian