The General Assembly has managed to avoid reforming ethics rules so that the public can know whether elected officials act in the state’s best interest instead of their own financial interest.
It has come up short over and over in securing road funding that the S.C. Department of Transportation could count on from year to year.
And it has failed to restructure the DOT to ensure that the vital infrastructure, when fixed, doesn’t end up returning to the sorry state that it is in now.
But somehow our state lawmakers have time to consider a bill that would allow someone in bankruptcy to protect up to $5,000 worth of firearms from debt collectors.
It is stunning that the S.C. House of Representatives on Tuesday passed the bill, introduced by Rep. Alan Clemmons, R-Myrtle Beach.
Mr. Clemmons said he learned that other states have similar laws. He didn’t provide any evidence that the issue has arisen in South Carolina or that the bill’s passing would benefit the state in some way.
No one offered a bill suggesting that someone in bankruptcy could shield $5,000 worth of canned foods that might sustain a family or a car that might enable the bankrupt individual to work and rectify his financial situation.
Just $5,000 worth of guns.
And unless the Legislature also allows the bankrupt person to maintain membership in a hunt club, the weapons might not do much for empty stomachs.
But that’s not all.
Rep. Peter McCoy, R-Charleston, wanted to increase the dollar value of guns that would be shielded.
Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, is frustrated that his bill prohibiting the state from enforcing new federal gun laws hasn’t passed.
And the Senate is still sitting on a House-approved bill that would ban any governmental entity in the state from regulating the transfer, ownership or transportation of guns and associated paraphernalia.
Of course, South Carolina already has an annual tax-free day for gun purchases.
S.C. legislators’ fixation on guns and their overreaching interpretation of the Second Amendment is striking, and off-putting to many. It is possible that serious business executives considering a move to South Carolina would be uncomfortable because of the General Assembly’s perpetual appetite for “gun rights” legislation when there are so many other challenges to tackle, including education, infrastructure and employment — and when there have been no serious threats to the Second Amendment in South Carolina.
But if the Senate agrees to the House bill, at least people in bankruptcy can keep $5,000 worth of weapons — and legislators can presumably keep their high rankings from the National Rifle Association.