COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — Nearly a month after 19 students and two teachers died in a mass school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, South Carolina lawmakers are pushing to make it harder for kids to get guns.

Experts say the rate of gun deaths among children is continuing to rise as more kids are involved in gun-related homicides. Data compiled by News13 appears to back that up, showing that about 20% of the people who have died in shootings in the Grand Strand and Pee Dee in 2022 were 18 or younger.

South Carolina is in the middle of a gun violence epidemic, Democratic Rep. Jermaine Johnson of Richland said in a recent social media post “You have to be a cold hearted person to see all these shootings and killings going on all around us and not feel anything. My “right” to collect an arsenal is not more important than any person’s life,” he said.

Requiring a gun owner to report the loss or theft of each weapon within 24 hours and making it a crime if a child younger than 18 obtains an unsecured firearm are just two suggestions. Other states have taken similar laws pertaining to the negligent storage of guns.

Johnson said he thinks increased gun violence in the state is the result of weak gun laws. The state needs to prioritize the state’s younger generation and their safety, he said.

At least one Grand Strand parent said he is concerned that lawmakers will never come to an agreement.

“How do we sit back and watch 19 kids get murdered by another kid in our country and debate whether or not we need tougher gun laws,“ Loris resident Montrell Wilson said. “Where I’m from, it is too easy for children of all ages to get access to guns, and recently we have been burying our children when they are supposed to be burying us.”