A bill filed by state Sen. Lee Bright a day before the elementary school massacre in Newtown, Conn., would allow S.C. residents to buy firearms, ammunition and gun accessories made in the state, even if they violate federal gun-control laws.
Bright, R-Roebuck, introduced The Firearms Freedom Act last year, but the bill died in committee. Bright re-introduced his bill on Dec. 13 — the day before 20 children and seven adults were killed in Newtown — and hopes for a better outcome this time. Despite the renewed and heated national debate over gun control in the wake of the Newtown shootings, Bright told the Spartanburg Herald-Journal he believes there is actually more enthusiasm now for his bill.
“A lot of people are showing a lot of interest in it. We’ve got a better chance now than we had previously,” Bright told the newspaper. In addition to South Carolina being a gun-friendly state, Bright's positive outlook is also bolstered by a recent Gallup poll that showed the strident pro-gun National Rifle Association held a 54 percent favorability rating among Americans.
The concept behind the bill? The federal government may regulate interstate commerce, but South Carolina gun manufacturers should be able to skirt federal laws and make and sell whatever they like within the state since their guns, gun parts, and accessories would not cross state lines.
The concept isn't exactly new or novel. Montana was the first state to pass such legislation, though it is currently tied up in litigation in federal court. Regardless, eight other states have passed identical legislation, and similar bills have been introduced in a score of other states, including South Carolina.
Bright said more gun control isn't the answer to gun violence. Connecticut, he told the paper, has some of the most restrictive gun laws in the nation.
"So there’s not a real strong correlation between gun laws and safety," Bright said.
“There are a lot of folks that are against the Second Amendment and want to restrict people’s guns rights, and this is just one they seized,” he said, referring to Newtown.
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