S.C. gun bills defy trends
If you, like the U.S. Senate, can’t find a gun bill to like, try South Carolina. The General Assembly has fired up about as many proposals as there are rounds in the magazine of a semi-automatic assault rifle.
In an already strong pro-gun state, it can’t be easy to come up with ideas for making it more pro-gun.
But legislators have risen to the challenge: They have introduced multiple bills, most of a distinctly different flavor from the national gun-control measures the Senate shot down.
There is a bill to allow gun owners to carry their weapons openly in public. No training or background check would be required.
There is one releasing South Carolina from any federal gun law that the state determines abridges gun rights. This one passed the House and is in the Senate.
And there is one allowing school employees to arm themselves in schools. That might come in handy if another bill, which would allow schools to give a firearms marksmanship course for credit, should pass.
A bill that would prohibit doctors from discussing gun safety with patients doesn’t appear to stand much of a chance. Hopefully people’s right to free speech — and the confidential doctor-patient relationship — will mean something to legislators.
Another bill would allow students, faculty and employees of a college to bring their guns to campus if they have concealed weapons permits.
Businesses would not be allowed to stop people parked on their property from keeping guns in their cars as per another bill.
People licensed to carry concealed weapons would be able to take them in businesses where alcohol is served — except between midnight and 5 a.m. and except if they drink alcohol or hang around too close to the bar.
A House bill would make more guns exempt from taxes on “Second Amendment weekend.” It has been referred to the Ways and Means Committee.
And a House-approved resolution, now in the Senate, would invite out-of-state businesses involved in the manufacturing of firearms and ammunition to locate in South Carolina.
At least one gun bill has become law. Gov. Nikki Haley signed a bill to prevent people who have been adjudicated as mentally ill from buying guns.
It was inspired by Alice Boland, who is charged with trying to fire a gun at a school official in front of Ashley Hall school.
Then there is a bill requiring safety locks on guns kept where children might get to them, one requiring people convicted of criminal domestic violence to surrender their arms and one outlawing assault-type weapons.
But none of those three looks likely to pass.
The National Rifle Association is sounding alarms that the American people’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms is in jeopardy.
But judging from our state lawmakers’ pro-gun zeal, a real possibility in South Carolina is a newly perceived right to keep and bear bazookas — without a background check.