- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 28, 2018

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - A group of South Carolina senators said Wednesday they want to make more changes to a bill that would require police to confiscate a gun used in a crime and increase state penalties for illegally carrying or selling a weapon.

Sen. Greg Hembree wrote the bill which would impose stricter penalties for illegally possessing a gun, especially for repeat offenders. It also would make it illegal under state law for felons to own guns, matching federal law.

After talking to people across South Carolina, Hembree said he realized there was too much confusion with state gun laws and how they match up with federal laws.

“People need to know what you can do and cannot do,” the Little River Republican said.

Currently, South Carolina law prohibits people convicted of “crimes of violence” from having a gun. Federal law prohibits all felons from having a gun.

Critics of the bill said non-violent offenders who want to own guns will be penalized for mistakes in their past.

Sen. Brad Hutto said someone who is convicted of a non-violent felony could get in trouble if the bill passes by living in a home with someone who could legally have a weapon.

“Knowing we live in South Carolina, most households have a gun and most are for self-protection,” the Orangeburg Democrat said.

The Senate is on break next week.

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