Politics & Government

SC governor candidate talks gun control, teachers in NMB

South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton made it clear Friday to a group of Grand Strand realtors that she supports existing background checks for people who want to buy guns.

Templeton, a Republican, spoke to about 320 members of the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors in North Myrtle Beach at the organization's annual spring membership luncheon. The association has about 3,800 members from the two counties it covers — Horry and Georgetown.

Walking through the crowd as she spoke, Templeton talked about the Parkland, Florida, school shooting while cautioning that finding solutions is a complex issue.

"There's not one [individual] thing we can do — arm teachers, don't arm the teachers," she said.

If teachers want to be trained to carry a gun, Templeton said, she supports them being armed on campus.

The Mount Pleasant attorney said she has a concealed weapons permit.

"I should be able to protect myself because the Constitution says I can," she said.

This is Templeton's first run for office and she said she'll never run for another office "ever" again.

"I've never run for anything before because everybody in Columbia is part of this system that's good ole boys," she said. "I'll donate the paycheck. I'm not going up there for the money. It's not about me, it's about the state."

Gubernatorial candidate Catherine Templeton spoke during a luncheon to the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors in North Myrtle Beach on Friday. March 9, 2018. JASON LEE jlee@thesunnews.com

"Having not been part of the good ole boy system, I don't owe any favors, there's no payback and they do not like that at all," she said. "They'll do everything they can to throw things in my way."

Templeton worked under former S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley as the state's director of the Dept. of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.

Templeton told The Sun News after the event that Myrtle Beach was always a part of conversations during natural disasters while working with Haley.

She said tourism is a top industry in the state.

"It's the service that we give, it's the hospitality and the people that we are that attract people to this area," Templeton said.

In February, Templeton faced pressure after the Greenville News reported her ancestors owned 66 slaves in Chester County during the time of the Civil War, which she said she was unaware of. She told the paper her campaign is about the future, not the past.

"I embrace my family, warts and all," she said to the Greenville News.

Templeton, 47, was born and raised in Lexington. She and her husband Morgan live in Charleston with their three children.

A Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors spokesperson said the organization meets quarterly and has representatives from each political party coming to speak.

Hannah Strong: 843-444-1765, @HannahLStrong