CHARLESTON, S.C., Oct. 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — South Carolina nonpartisan group Arm-in-Arm has released the results of a statewide survey of 2020 candidates as part of its mission to find common ground for safe gun policy.

The results of this survey are particularly significant in a state that has ranked between fourth and eighth nationally in the rate of firearm homicide per capita in 19 of the last 20 years, according to an Arm-in-Arm analysis.

The survey, which focuses on Universal Background Checks and the Open Carry of handguns in public, will enable voters to know SC candidates’ stances on two critical aspects of gun policy for the coming election. Arm-in-Arm’s survey contacted 87 candidates participating in 41 races in six of SC’s largest population centers, including Greenville, Rock Hill, Columbia, Myrtle Beach, Charleston and Beaufort County.

Full survey results are available on Arm-in-Arm’s website.

Public support in SC for Universal Background Checks  for all gun sales is backed by polling (84% overall) including 82% of Republicans and 86% of Democrats (Public Policy Polling 2016). Three statewide polls also demonstrate a strong consensus for completed background checks (80-86%; Winthrop 2015, 2018, 2019), a position echoed by 83% of SC gun owners (Winthrop 2018).

Arm-in-Arm’s recent focus groups with gun owners also demonstrated the same support, said Arm-in-Arm Chairman Peter Zalka. A clogged background check system is cause for concern, he said. Between March and July, 2020, Forbes reports that 300,000 guns may have been sold in the U.S. without completed background checks, according to a study of FBI records.

The Open Carry of handguns in public places such as shopping areas, parks, beaches, restaurants and sporting events is another top issue in SC, said Zalka. Earlier this year, Arm-in-Arm helped defeat two Open Carry bills in the SC legislature. The group expects new legislation will be filed in 2021.

Zalka said the 2020 candidate responses provide an opportunity for stakeholders and elected officials to find common ground on a platform that simultaneously supports the 2nd Amendment and safe gun policy.

About Gun Violence in SC

Nationally, South Carolina ranks 5th in firearm homicide (up from 8th in 2017), 12th in gun fatality (Arm-in-Arm/CDC/2018), 11th in domestic violence fatalities (VPC), with rising gun violence in urban areas. According to Gifford’s 2020 scorecard data, gun violence is the 2nd leading cause of death for SC children under 17 and ranks 7th  in the export of guns that end up being used in crimes in other states.

About Arm-in-Arm                                                                                         

Established following the tragedy at Emanuel AME, Arm-in-Arm is a nonpartisan grassroots nonprofit committed to reducing gun violence in SC. The group’s platform bridges the fracture in gun policy dialogue, giving stakeholders and elected officials a pathway to safe gun policy while still supporting the 2nd Amendment. Please visit

Contact:  J. Dean Foster – 843-810-0346, [email protected]

Or, Peter Zalka – 843-906-5727, [email protected]

SOURCE Arm-in-Arm

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