Columbia city council passes hate crime and gun restriction laws

COLUMBIA,SC (WOLO)- Columbia city council voted unanimously Tuesday night to pass three ordinances that take aim at gun violence and hate crime.

The first, a Gun-free School Zone ordinance that makes it illegal to carry within 1000 feet of schools. The second, an Extreme Risk Protection law, which gives law enforcement and family members the power to take guns away. The third, is the Hate Intimidation law, which would add to charges if a person committed a crime based on race, color creed, religion, ancestry, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, disability or national origin.

“This type of ordinance, and the other ordinances we’ve been taking up, speaks clearly not only to the people who live here but the rest of the world,” Mayor Steve Benjamin said.

A few people who came out to Tuesday nights meeting strongly disagreed with council members passing the hate crime law.

“Personally I don’t see the point of adding a hate crime bill on top when it can be misconstrued in other areas,” resident Micheal Reed said.

“I don’t think I need this hate crime bill,” resident Charlie Davis said. “There is a law against murder already. All this is doing is selecting out some people to say they are more important.”

While others feel the city is moving in the right direction.

This is a way for the city to say we do not let hate fester here,” resident Charles Fricke said. “We will call it out when we see it.”

“I would love for the state to move on one and have it signed by the governor,” resident Dayna smith said.

After hearing both sides, council decided to pass all three in hopes that it’ll makes people more aware.

“This is about us making sure that with gun rights, also come gun responsibilities at this time we need some really thoughtful policy making from the good guys with guns,” Benjamin said.

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