State legislators consider bills to exempt state from enforcing - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

State legislators consider bills to exempt state from enforcing future gun regulations

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Several South Carolina senators and representatives are looking out for the rights of gun owners when it comes to potentially restrictive legislation.

Three bills were filed in the House over the past two weeks calling for a Second Amendment Preservation Act.

House Bill 4701 reads, “the State shall not: enforce any federal law, rule, or regulation that took effect after January 1, 2016, that limits the right of a person to own, possess, or use a firearm, ammunition, or firearm accessories.”

That bill also addresses the acceptance of any federal funds or spending of any state funds that require firearms to be registered or confiscated.

Two more bills, House Bills 4628 and 4668, further prohibit the funding and use of state personnel or property to be used in gun regulation passed after January 1, 2016.

A similar Second Amendment Preservation Act bill was filed in the Senate at the end of 2014 calling for the nullification of any future federal actions that unconstitutionally infringe on gun ownership.

All four bills are in the judiciary committees.

Representative Stephen Goldfinch, R-District 108, said House Bill 4701 is more of a reaction to bills filed in the Senate to create a gun ownership registry or ban assault rifles than in response to President Barack Obama’s recent executive order.

In regards to the federal government, Goldfinch said South Carolina has turned down federal funding in the past that came with certain requirements.

Goldfinch said he thinks the pending legislation has a chance of passing.

Representative Gregory Duckworth, R-District 104, said the bills identify when the federal government is overreaching its capacity to govern individual states.

Frederick Wood, a politics professor at Coastal Carolina University, said these laws go against the ability for federal law to supersede state law.

“These bills are part of a recent and largely unsuccessful national trend by state legislatures to attempt to nullify federal firearms laws,” he said. “The Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution protects federal law from being overturned by state governments.”

Wood said these nullification bills really allow legislators to let their constituents know they agree with them.

The owner of 707 Gun Shop here said many of his customers are feeling less confident in the federal government when it comes to their second amendment rights, which has shown in the customers he’s seeing in the store.

“I really think it’s an attitude and it’s a fear and I really think that’s what’s the difference is between this and the past gun rushes we’ve had.”

Robert Battista said his store has seen a 60 percent increase in new customers compared to this time last year.

 “We’re getting a lot of people who have never, ever thought that they would ever buy a gun in their life coming in and buying their guns,” he said.

Battista said he thinks the lack of confidence in the government and law enforcement are driving people to arm themselves.

 “I think this is something that’s going to be around for a while until we get a stronger administration, we get a stronger military, we get a stronger police force, until something changes on that,” Battista said.

Joan Furlong, of the Horry County Democrats, said she's disappointed to see legislators from Horry County supporting these bills because she said an overwhelming number of democrats and republicans support sensible gun legislation.

Furlong also said South Carolina has more women killed by men, mainly with guns, than any other state, so she thinks legislators should be following Governor Nikki Haley's call to crack down on domestic violence rather than considering blocking the state from future gun regulations.

Copyright 2016 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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