The S.C. Statehouse

The S.C. Statehouse. File

A state lawmaker has come up with an idea to combat school shootings, and it’ll go over like a lead balloon with folks upset about those gun billboards on I-26.

You know, the ones featuring an AR-15 with a suppressor and the message “Do you hear what I hear?”

Classy. Nothing says Peace on Earth like a military-style rifle.

Anyway, state Sen. Kevin Bryant – who has graciously volunteered to take the lieutenant governor’s job – pre-filed legislation this week that would allow public school teachers to carry guns into the classroom. Yes, that old chestnut roasting on an open fire.

The South Carolina Legislature is nothing if not predictable.

Bryant calls this legislation “Jacob Hall’s Law” to honor a victim of the Townville Elementary School shooting in September. To recap: A 14-year-old showed up with a gun at the Anderson County school (shortly after killing his father) and shot three people. Two were injured and Hall, who was 6, died.

Despite that tragedy, nobody is going to change their mind on this issue, so there’s no point debating it – or pointing out that the first responder who took down the shooter was not armed.

Let’s just say this: If the Legislature is really serious about Second Amendment rights, they should prove it by chucking those metal detectors at the Statehouse.

Hypocrites much?

Let’s also ignore the fact that South Carolina has real problems, yet lawmakers continue to waste an inordinate amount of their time on guns and the Civil War.

Sometimes it feels like the General Assembly is just a really fancy "Gone With the Wind" convention.

These guys won’t fix the roads, and they won’t fix the schools, but Bryant believes our lives will be better if teachers are packing heat.

Of course, this is all just about safety. Bryant – who once pointed out the words “concealed permit” are not in the Second Amendment – is simply worried about our children. It's not about guns. Under his proposal, teachers could also carry knives or lead pipes, anything capable of causing bodily harm or death. That's what it says. Really.

But if you need more proof this is just about the kids, consider the fine print: Bryant even included language in his bill to “allow” school officials to make sure teachers know the difference between the trigger and the safety before they actually strap on.

But that’s not a legal requirement or anything – wouldn’t want to violate the Second Amendment. Just the First, Fourth, Ninth, etc.

If the safety of school kids is such a concern to these guys, then the Legislature will surely pass that pre-filed bill from Sen. Mia McLeod, the one requiring seat belts in school buses. Of course, they first might have to buy buses made in this century.

But don’t hold your breath.

If it's reasonable for teachers – or anyone who goes into a Cracker Barrel, because that place is so dangerous – to carry guns, then why do lawmakers like Bryant (a proponent of open carry) ban guns at the Statehouse? A place that can truly be hazardous to our health.

Could it be because they’re hypocrites?

Safe zone?

Some people foolishly thought the Legislature might actually get down to business since former Sen. Lee “Ain’t” Bright is no longer trolling the halls of power.

But grandstanding lawmakers are like weeds – pull one and another sprouts up in its place.

So even if the Senate allows Bryant to become lieutenant governor, rendering him completely powerless, someone else will fill the void.

Instead of making hard decisions that might improve South Carolina, it appears some (but not all) lawmakers are content to keep pandering to folks who want to turn the state into the Wild West.

If that's what voters want, fine. But fair is fair. These alleged Second Amendment-supporting lawmakers need to put up or shut up and let folks carry guns into the Statehouse.

Because it sure is hard to ignore the double standard of guys who ridicule “safe zones” for whiny college kids – then spend all their time in the safest zone of all.

Reach Brian Hicks at bhicks@postandcourier.com.