Want to overthrow the government? No registration required

Columbia, SC - COLUMBIA, SC (WMBF) - South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has repealed a 1952 law requiring any group that advocates overthrowing the government to register with the Secretary of State's office and pay a $5 fee.

The Subversive Activities Registration Act required any group that advocated overthrowing local, state, or federal governments to register with the SOS office, list the address, beliefs and names of all members living in South Carolina, and pay a $5 fee or face a fine up to $25,000 and 10 years imprisonment.

Registrants also had to answer the question, "Do you or your organization directly or indirectly advocate, advise, teach or practice the duty or necessity of controlling, seizing or overthrowing the government?"

According to the Secretary of State's office, the legislation came in response to the Cold War, during which many public officials perceived a threat of violent and forcible overthrow of the U.S. government by U.S. Communist groups that advocated this objective.

The law had been part of the SC Code of Law since 1952. It was amended in 1962 and attempts were made in 1994 to repeal the law, but it did not pass the SC House of Representatives.

The Subversive Activities Registration Act received publicity earlier this year when a blogger saw the registration form on the Secretary of State's website and stated incorrectly that the SC General Assembly had recently passed the bill. Fourteen registrations, mostly in jest, and one letter soon followed.

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