FORT MILL (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — “Every mom I know drops their kid off at school and worries about the possibility of a school shooting,” Mallory Dittmer said. “I don’t think our legislators understand, especially those of an older generation that [doesn’t] have school children understand just how much our quality of life has changed because of the constant threat of gun violence and the fact that the situation is only getting worse.” 

New calls for gun safety in schools hit lawmakers across the nation after yet another school shooting, this time taking six lives at a school in Nashville, Tennessee.

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Several Fort Mill neighbors took the fight directly to Senator Michael Johnson during a small informational gathering to discuss South Carolina’s state house bill that, if passed, would allow firearm owners to carry handguns openly or concealed without a state permit.

“And our legislators are looking to loosen the laws. Just shows that the legislators aren’t working on behalf of the people they represent. Today, Senator Johnson mentioned that he thought that the constitutional carry would go through because it’s what the majority of South Carolinians want. And that is not accurate. So it worries me that they’re not paying attention to the data and the polling that shows that the vast majority of South Carolinians think we need to ramp up some of our gun safety efforts,” she said. 

That scares Dittmer. Her husband is a teacher, and she has two school-aged children. Every day she’s anxious for them to make it home safely.

“There was a gun threat here in Fort Mill and I learned about it and I texted my husband and every minute it took him to text me back is so brutal. The United States of America is the most dangerous place to send your kids to school,” she said. ranks the United States at #1 in school shootings by country between 2009 and 2018 with 288.

The next country is Mexico with eight and South Africa at six. The Washington Post reports there have been 376 school shootings since 1999 and there were 46 school shootings in 2022 — more than any year since at least 1999.

Carla Litrenta says she attended Senator Johnson’s meeting because she wanted him to see that there are people in his district that do not agree with what he’s doing as far as supporting the constitutional carry statute.

“I wanted him to know that there are lots of people out here that disagree with what they’re doing in the Senate right now to push that through. We’re going the wrong way in South Carolina. We shouldn’t be lessening gun laws. We shouldn’t be loosening restrictions. We should be going the other way to make people safer. And, you know, we just didn’t get the answers that we wanted. We got the answers we expected,” said Litrenta. 

Senator Johnson says the state has allotted $250 million to distribute to school districts for safety.

He says the first thing the state needs to do is secure the schools by making sure there’s a resource officer in every school.

Johnson also says some of that money needs to be used on security technology like making sure alarms go off when doors aren’t securely shut.

“We have to make sure schools are safe. That needs to be our number one. There is nothing more precious than our children. From just a pure gun standpoint. We have to have the discussion, right? How are guns good or guns bad? There are good people who are going to say on both sides of the aisle and people are going to argue that entire spectrum. I think my job is to try to listen to those and then go make the best decisions I can make. And lastly, we have to address the mental issues that we’re facing. It’s easy to say, oh, you have a mental issue. That’s why you wouldn’t show up at the school. Well, what caused that? What are the underlying factors that are leading basically a lot of white males through the ages of 18 and 24 to pick up a gun and go shoot someone? To me, that is illogical. We do need to address that as a society, but that is a societal thing that we must address and the government,” he said.