When the S.C. Legislature responded to the 2012 mass murder at a Connecticut elementary school by relaxing gun laws, some concluded that there was no limit to the gun zeal in this state.
But then came the sound defeat of a proposal from Republican Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, last week. Seventeen members of the Senate Judiciary Committee killed his bill, which would have let just about anyone in South Carolina buy and carry weapons without a background check, without a permit and without training.
South Carolina, it seems, has its "gun rights" limits after all. Thank goodness.
That doesn't mean there isn't gun fever and there won't continue to be plenty of grandstanding to win the loyalty of gun rights extremists. Sen. Bright's bill, after all, had some support, including that of Gov. Nikki Haley.
While Rep. Joshua Putnam, R-Anderson, hasn't withdrawn his bill to prohibit doctors from talking to their patients about guns, it is telling that the bill was introduced to begin with. Forget free speech.
And South Carolina has a weekend each year when people can buy guns without paying sales tax. Not groceries or medicine. Just guns.
Likely to pass is an invitation from the General Assembly to out-of-state businesses involved in the manufacturing of firearms and ammunition and accessories for firearms. Members want them to locate here. Not manufacturers of computers or cranes. Just firearms.
And one of its most recently enacted laws allows licensed concealed permit holders to carry their weapons into bars.
There are still those who, like Sen. Bright, believe that more guns on the streets will deter criminals, not increase the number of shootings.
And there are those who are confident that their constitutional rights include owning guns and carrying them, concealed or not, where they wish to carry them.
But as one committee member quizzed Sen. Bright: Are stop signs government infringement?
Rights granted by the government can be limited by government when necessary. You can't drive a car without a license or drive 80 miles an hour down a residential street. You can't give alcohol to minors or give tours while operating a pedicab, at least in Charleston.
South Carolina doesn't have to convince anyone else that it is a gun-friendly state. But it does have some convincing to do when it comes to ethical government, adequate public education and safe roads and bridges.
The Legislature needs to cool the rhetorical six-shooters and get down to the important business of the state.
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