This week, the House Judiciary Committee passed H 4681, introduced by Representative Mike Pitts (R-14), but drastically weakened the legislation. As originally introduced, this bill would remove the ability of local governments to restrict the use, sale, or transportation of firearms during a state of emergency, and would also prohibit South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) from releasing the personal information of Right-to-Carry (RTC) permit holders unless the request for the information is part of an investigation by law enforcement. While the Constitutional Laws Subcommittee strengthened the provision dealing with restrictions on local governments two weeks ago, the full Judiciary Committee stripped out the language that would protect the privacy of permit holders.
The Sun-News (Myrtle Beach) reported Bill Rogers, Executive Director of the S.C. Press Association, called the measure that sought to protect the privacy rights of law-abiding gun owners, “[A] dangerous first step.” One must ask how protecting the privacy of law-abiding citizens can be called “a dangerous first step,” but this position is certainly not surprising, as the “mainstream” media has a long history of open hostility toward the Second Amendment. Not satisfied with continually abusing the protections guaranteed under the First Amendment, it would appear that at least some representatives of the South Carolina media would like to expand their attacks on our Right to Keep and Bear Arms to include attacks on the right to privacy of honest citizens who choose to exercise their right to defend themselves against violent, predatory criminals by acquiring a Right-to-Carry permit. Others argued that attorneys need to know if someone involved in a court case might be carrying a firearm. Of course, law-abiding permit holders are not a threat to attorneys, and violent criminals who might actually pose a threat don’t bother to apply for permits they will not be issued and they are already prohibited from possessing a firearm. If this legislation is to become law this year, it needs to be passed next week.
Please contact your State Representative and urge him or her to reinstate the language stripped out by the Judiciary Committee that will protect the privacy of law-abiding permit holders, and to support passage of H 4681.
In addition, the South Carolina Senate has yet to act on H 4301, the "Castle Doctrine" legislation that would remove the “duty to retreat” if a law-abiding citizen is attacked anywhere that person may lawfully be. This legislation passed the House in February with overwhelming bi-partisan support, and virtually no opposition, while similar legislation has already passed in a number of states this year. South Carolina needs to be added to this growing list!
Please contact your State Senator and urge him or her to support H 4301, and promote its passage through the Senate.
The general phone number for the House of Representatives is (803) 734-2010, and the State Senate can be reached at (803) 212-6200.