South Carolina Looks To Protect Gun Rights With New Unorganized Militia Bill

| by Jonathan Wolfe
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South Carolina legislators are trying to stay one step ahead of federal law when it comes to gun control.

State Senator Tom Corbin (R-Greenville) introduced a bill today that would make every South Carolina resident ages 17 and up a member of the state’s “unorganized militia.”

Check out this excerpt from the bill: “Any able-bodied citizen of the state who is over 17 years of age and can legally purchase a firearm is deemed a member of the South Carolina Unorganized Militia, unless he is already a member of the National Guard or the organized militia not in National Guard Service.”

The bill would capitalize on an existing South Carolina law that says “the unorganized militia may not fall under any law or regulation or jurisdiction of any person or entity outside of South Carolina.”

Included in the bill is a clause attempting to preserve the rights of South Carolina residents to purchase any firearm they wish to. This sections states that residents “shall have the right to possess and keep all arms that could be legally acquired or possessed by a South Carolina citizen as of Dec. 31, 2012. This includes shouldered rifles and shotguns, handguns, clips, magazines, and all components.”

Although residents would automatically be enrolled into the unorganized militia, the bill also says that “A member may resign at any time from the unorganized militia, at which time he will resume his civilian status.”

Corbin, the bill’s chief sponsor, spoke about the bill in a January interview with the Charleston Post Courier.

“It’s not the gun’s fault, it’s never the gun’s fault,” he said. “It’s the person. But everybody wants to come down on the gun, and I’ve never thought that was right.”

If the bill passes, it still doesn’t guarantee that South Carolina residents would be exempt from any future federal gun control laws. The U.S. Constitution still states that federal law is the supreme law of the land. Just as with states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana, the federal government still has the right to enforce federal law over state law.