Today, Charleston Mayor John J. Tecklenburg released the following statement in response to recent acts of violence in Charleston, including last night’s shootings on King Street and in West Ashley:
"So far this year, we've lost nine souls to violence here in Charleston -- which, sadly and remarkably, appears to be somewhat below the statewide average. But let's be honest: With more than 30 shootings to date, including those last night, that number could be much higher. In fact, if it weren't for our police officers' advanced trauma training, the Medical University's world-class emergency unit, and the grace of a loving God, it would be much higher.
“Enough is enough. This senseless violence has to stop. And the only way that's going to happen is if we're clear about the challenges. Illegal guns are everywhere. Our courts are routinely releasing dangerous repeat offenders. And all the while, our police are stuck in the middle, doing their level best to keep us safe, while the system keeps putting more illegal guns and more repeat violent offenders out on the streets.
“We can and will continue to fight these problems here in Charleston. That's our job, and we're accountable. But the hard truth is this: In South Carolina, only the state legislature has the authority to reform our laws with regard to illegal guns and repeat violent offenders. As a city, we're literally prohibited from taking action in either area. I know how hard many of our state representatives on both sides of the aisle are working on these issues. And it's critically important that we as citizens let them know they have our full support as they continue to fight for these much-needed reforms.
“Public safety is the first and most important job of government. And regardless of party or ideology, we must all work together to stop this violence, and keep our city and citizens safe.”