South Carolina: Gun Bills Good & Bad

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posted on February 15, 2016
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An important pro-gun measure that would strengthen South Carolina’s “Castle Doctrine” is progressing through the state legislature.

H 4703 unanimously passed out of the South Carolina House on Feb. 4 and is now under consideration in the state Senate. The house vote was 106-0 in favor of the measure.

The measure, introduced by Republican House Judiciary Chairman Greg Delleney and strongly supported by NRA, seeks to clarify the Protection of Persons and Property Act (South Carolina’s “Castle Doctrine”) to ensure that a defendant who is denied protection from prosecution under this Act is able to immediately appeal such a denial. 

NRA-ILA urges South Carolina gun owners to contact their state representative and thank him or her for supporting H 4703. Also, be sure to contact your state senator and urge him or her to support H 4703, with no weakening amendments, when it comes up for a vote. 

Meanwhile, several anti-gun bills are under consideration in the state, including a number of NRA-opposed bills that would establish a de facto waiting period for firearm purchases. H 4388 by Democrat Rep. Beth Bernstein, H 4551 and H 4552 by Republican Rep. Doug Brannon, and S 917 and S 918 by Democrat Sen. Gerald Malloy would all extend the time for completing background checks for firearm purchases from the three days prescribed by federal law to time periods ranging from 14 to 28 days. H 4703 unanimously passed out of the South Carolina House on Feb. 4 and is now under consideration in the state Senate.

These measures are ostensibly designed to close the so-called “Charleston Loophole,” a ploy being used by many anti-gun politicians to try to make purchasing firearms more inconvenient for law-abiding citizens.Fact is, no such “loophole” exists. 

Here’s some background. There are times when a name entered into the NICS system raises some indication that the person might be a prohibited possessor of firearms, but more investigation is needed. The Brady Law allows government officials to research the situation for up to three business days. If the investigation has not been definitively concluded in the three days, the dealer may proceed with the transfer. This is often referred to as a “conditional proceed.”  

This provision was not some kind of “error” leading to a “loophole”: Congress at the time did not want Janet Reno’s Justice Department to be able to indefinitely deny Americans the ability to exercise their fundamental right to arms by simply never concluding a background check. Some might not remember those days, but this was not a far-fetched possibility by any stretch of the imagination.

Still other South Carolina measures would infringe on the Second Amendment rights of state residents in other ways. H 4564, by Democrat state Rep. Joseph Jefferson, and S 943, by Democrat state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, would both establish a firearm registration scheme. H 4440, introduced by Democrat state Rep. Wendell Gilliard, and S 939, by Sen. Kimpson, both seek to ban numerous semi-automatic firearms.

We’ll keep you posted on these measures as more information becomes available.

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