COLUMBIA, S.C. (Jan. 3, 2019) – A bill prefiled in the South Carolina House would make it legal for South Carolinians to open carry firearms, fostering an environment hostile to federal gun control.
Reps. Michael Pitts (R-Laurens) and W. Brian White (R-Anderson) filed House Bill 3363 (H.3363) on Dec. 18. Currently, South Carolina gun owners must first attend training through a certified South Carolina CWP instructor before they can get a concealed weapons permit.
H.3363 would amend Section 23-31-210(5) of the 1976 Code concerning “concealable weapons” so that they “may” be carried concealed “or openly on one’s person.” The bill complements another bill prefiled for the 2019 session that would allow people to conceal carry without a permit.
If passed, H.3363 would take a small step returning to the original vision of the founders, in which citizens had a duty to be armed rather than need permission to carry. In the original 13 colonies, all but Quaker (pacifist) Pennsylvania required able-bodied men to have a working musket and respond to musters. It’s why George Mason said at the Virginia Ratifying Convention that the militia was “the whole of the people, except for a few public officials.” The Founders wanted militia to defend the colonies, not a standing military that could threaten liberties
EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL
While state bills loosening restrictions on carrying firearms do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of laws like this subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.
The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”
Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.
State actions such as passing H.3363 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.
H.3363 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process. The 2019 legislative session begins Jan. 8.
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