South Carolina Sen. Lee Bright (R-Spartanburg) has reintroduced a bill that would exempt any firearm, accessory or ammunition manufactured and kept within the borders of the Palmetto State from federal regulations.
Invoking states rights under the 9th and 10th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, Bright’s legislation – known as the ‘South Carolina Firearms Freedom Act’ – states:
“A personal firearm, a firearm accessory, or ammunition that is manufactured commercially or privately in South Carolina and that remains within the borders of South Carolina is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce.”
“Congress has not expressly preempted state regulation of intrastate commerce pertaining to the manufacture on an intrastate basis of firearms, firearms accessories, and ammunition,” the bill adds.
The ‘Firearms Freedom Act’ movement has its origins in Montana, where a gun maker by the name of Gary Marbut got sick and tired of the federal government’s overreach with respect to his business. After closely examining the Constitution, in particular the commerce clause, Marbut conceived the Firearms Freedom Act in 2009.
“This is really about state’s rights and federal power rather than gun control,” Marbut told the Wall Street Journal in a 2011 interview. “There is an emerging awareness by the people of America that the federal government has gone too far, and it’s dependent on a really weird interpretation” (for more on this, click here).
The Montana FFA is now being reviewed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. Yet, despite the uncertainty of its fate, at least 7 other states have passed a clone version of the bill as its made its way through the courts.
Sen. Bright had previously introduced the SC FFA during the 2011-2012 legislative session. However, it died after being referred to a committee.
Given recent events, the elementary school shooting in Newtown, CT, and the subsequent calls for gun control at the Federal level (Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s promise to renew the Assault Weapons Ban), Bright sees support for the bill gaining momentum.
“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 SHJ.com, adding that, “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.”
South Carolina is home to several gun manufacturers and firearms-related businesses, most notably FN Manufacturing. The Columbia-based operation produces an array of different products, from handguns to barrels for .50 caliber machine guns (for more on this, click here).
Again, just to clarify, if the SC FFA were to be signed into law, with few exceptions, none of FN’s products would be subject to federal law provided they were stamped with “Made in South Carolina” (a requirement of the bill) and kept within the state’s borders.
Sounds like a good deal, right?
State lawmakers will reconvene in Columbia on Jan. 8. Let’s hope they give the FFA some serious consideration.