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Important Second Amendment Bills in South Carolina!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Make Your Voice Heard Today!

NRA continues to work with legislators on several critical bills.  The first bill, H 3212, is headed for Conference Committee, but is awaiting the assignment of conferees.  This legislation was originally introduced and passed by the House as a bill that would establish a straight recognition standard for right-to-carry (RTC) permits in South Carolina.  In other words, as long as a visitor to South Carolina had a valid RTC permit issued by another state, South Carolina would recognize it as valid in the Palmetto State.  NRA fully supports this proposal, however, some in the Senate have shown opposition to such a standard, and to ensure passage of this bill, NRA worked with State Senators Jim Ritchie (R-13) and Jake Knotts (R-23) to come up with good language that would pass in the Senate.  This new language would improve the current conditional reciprocity standard currently in effect in South Carolina.  If the Senate language is adopted, it will expand the number of states that recognize a South Carolina RTC permit, as well as the number of states South Carolina will recognize.  NRA will continue to work with members of the Senate and House to ensure the best possible language is passed.  The least we will accept is the language passed by the Senate, which, as previously stated, would be an improvement over the current law. 

NRA is also working on H 3202, which is a bill that seeks to establish a Constitutional Amendment that recognizes the Right to Hunt and Fish in South Carolina.  The language originally passed by the House last year was good language, although NRA has also been working to introduce our own Model Language as the standard.  NRA's Model Language would clearly establish protections in South Carolina for the state's Hunting Heritage.  It would ensure that hunting is protected against attacks from animal "rights" extremists, who would seek to ban all hunting by attacking it on a species-by-species and method-by-method basis.  In other words, when groups like the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) move their attacks into South Carolina, and launch campaigns against hunting dove as they successfully did in Michigan, or bear as they have tried in Alaska, Florida, and Maine, and have succeeded thus far in New Jersey, their efforts would be thwarted with the protections offered by NRA Model Language.  And when they launch attacks on hunting by certain methods, such as the prohibition on taking deer in Illinois using center-fire rifles, they would be thwarted.  Unfortunately, the Senate has amended H 3202, and removed many of the specific protections offered in both the House version and in NRA's Model Language.  NRA will continue to work to pass effective language, and we urge members to contact their State Senator to ask him or her to work with NRA to adopt language that will be effective in protecting out Hunting Heritage in South Carolina for future generations. 

In addition, Governor Sanford (R) signed one pro-gun bill this week.  H 4364 lowered the state age restriction on acquiring a handgun from 21 to 18.  While federal law still requires an individual to reach the age of 21 before purchasing a handgun from a Federal Firearms License (FFL) holder, and this law does not change that standard. Federal law does allow possession of handguns by 18-year-olds.  H 4364 brings South Carolina in line with the majority of states, which do not prohibit law-abiding 18-year-olds from possessing or acquiring handguns.  Our thanks go out to Governor Sanford for signing this legislation, as well as to Representative Mike Pitts (R-14), who introduced the original bill, and Senator Brad Hutto (D-40), who offered the amendment that made improvements to the original bill. 

Governor Sanford has yet to act on H 3528, another bill introduced by Rep. Pitts, which would protect the privacy of law-abiding Concealable Weapons Permit (CWP) holders.  Please take a moment to call Governor Sanford's office and thank him for his support of our Right to Keep and Bear Arms by signing H 4364, and ask him to continue that support by signing H 3528.

Finally, this week, Senator Dick Elliott (D-28) introduced S 1259, an ammunition encoding/serialization bill that would require all handgun and "assault weapon" ammunition be marked with "a unique identifier that has been applied by etching onto the base of the bullet projectile."  What constitutes "assault weapon" ammunition is not clear, nor does the legislation clarify whether "handgun ammunition" includes ammunition that can be used in both a handgun and rifle, even if the purchase is strictly for rifle use.  Ammunition manufacturers and vendors would be entered into an Ammunition Coding System Database (ACSD), and vendors would be required to maintain personal information on anyone who purchases these types of ammunition.  The legislation also requires that any privately owned ammunition that has not been encoded must be disposed of by 2012.  The cost of the ACSD will be passed on to consumers, and this bill would put an end to the practice of reloading handgun an "assault weapon" ammunition.  Please call your Senator and urge him to oppose this attack on law-abiding gun owners.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.