State representative Chris Corley, who has a pro-gun voting record, will have to keep his hands off firearms until his domestic violence case is resolved, or risk going back to jail.
Corley, R-Aiken, was arrested Tuesday on charges of first-degree criminal domestic violence and pointing and presenting a firearm, authorities said. Aiken County deputies say the lawmaker punched his wife of 12 years in the face, drawing blood, and he pointed a 9mm pistol at her when she accused him of cheating.
Aiken County Magistrate Melanie DuBose placed some restrictions on the 36-year-old Corley during his bond hearing. She forbade him from having any contact with his wife or going near any domestic violence shelter. Corley, who is an attorney in Augusta, Ga., will be allowed to travel to and from work.
Prosecutors also requested a firearms restriction and the judge granted it. A defendant only has to surrender his firearms if a judge issues an order instructing him to do so, which DuBose did not.
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“While he’s out on bond, he shouldn’t be in possession of any weapons,” said Capt. Eric Abdullah, an Aiken County sheriff’s spokesman. “If he’s caught in possession of a weapon, his bond can be revoked by a bond court judge.”
In cases when a judge orders a defendant to surrender any firearms, the defendant can choose to turn them over to law enforcement or secure them at a family member’s home, Abdullah said.
It remains unclear if Corley owned any other firearms besides a 9mm.
Corley’s wife told deputies he threatened to kill her in their Graniteville home and that the only thing that stopped him was the screams of their children, according to sheriff’s records. Corley reportedly then grabbed the pistol from his vehicle outside their home and pointed it at her, officials have said.
The Smith & Wesson SD9VE 9mm that Corley retrieved from his vehicle and pointed at his wife was seized as evidence, Abdullah said.
Corley, elected in 2014, co-sponsored a bill that granted reciprocity for gun owners in Georgia, allowing them to carry their weapons in South Carolina and vice versa. He also supported a similar House bill that died in a Senate subcommittee earlier this year.
The lawmaker was a sponsor on a concurrent resolution declaring June 2015 “Gun Violence Awareness Month” to “raise awareness surrounding the issue of gun violence.”
Corley has no prior criminal record, according to the State Law Enforcement Division. Because of the severity of the charges, he could be facing suspension from the S.C. House of Representatives. House Speaker Jay Lucas has said he is monitoring the situation.
The 2nd Circuit Solicitor’s Office declined to comment on details of the case, including any plans to bring the case before a grand jury, which could indict Corley. An indictment could trigger his suspension from his House seat.
However, the grand jury in Aiken County will be sworn in Jan. 4, according to the clerk of court’s office. It was unclear when the jury would begin hearing cases.