The school shooting in Parkland, Fla., last week is reverberating through S.C. politics – including the race for governor – as candidates debate how to ensure students are safe at school.
A look at where the candidates seeking the state’s top office stand:
Seeking the GOP nomination
Lt. Gov. Kevin Bryant: The Anderson pharmacist wants to allow school districts to use state education dollars to hire armed school resource officers for schools. He also wants districts to decide whether to arm educators. “The ultimate goal is to keep kids safe. I don't think a mandate out of Columbia will solve this problem.”
S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster: In his executive budget, McMaster has asked legislators for $5 million in grants to help schools hire school resource officers and to fully pay for the state’s school-based mental health programs. “Like President Trump, he supports a ban on bump stocks,” campaign spokesperson Caroline Anderegg said. “While others pay lip service to these issues, the governor is leading the way to keep our children safe.”
Catherine Templeton: The Mount Pleasant attorney supports allowing teachers to carry firearms, backing them up with school resource officers and finding better ways to secure school buildings. Templeton opposes banning bump stocks, her campaign spokesman Mark Powell said. “Limiting law-abiding citizens' constitutional right to keep and bear arms is not the solution.”
John Warren: The Greenville real-estate lender says state money should be used to help every school get a school resource officer, and retired law enforcement and military veterans working in schools should be able to carry firearms. “From exploding school buses to violence in schools, South Carolina could do more to protect our children,” he said.
Yancey McGill’s campaign did not respond to a request for comment.
Seeking the Democratic nomination
Strengthening and expanding background checks is a Democratic priority. That includes closing the so-called “Charleston loophole” that allowed Dylann Roof, the shooter convicted in the 2015 slaying of nine African American worshipers at a Charleston church, to buy a gun.
Phil Noble: The business and technology consultant has said, as governor, he also would support a ban on military-style assault rifles and a repeal of a law that allows South Carolinians to carry guns into bars.
James Smith: The Richland state representative and combat veteran said he would push to ban the sale of military-style assault weapons. He also wants to ban bump stocks and trigger cranks, firearm attachments that allow for more rapid fire. For owners of existing assault-style weapons, Smith is calling for safe storage of those weapons and ammunition, and reporting requirements for guns that are lost or stolen.
Marguerite Willis: The anti-trust attorney from Florence also has called for banning bump stocks and “getting assault weapons off the streets.”