By: DJ Parten
South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office released an opinion this week declaring an ordinance in the City of Columbia that implements “Red Flag” gun confiscation is likely “invalid” and in conflict with state law.
In September, the Columbia City Council passed a seven-page ordinance to create a “Red Flag” gun confiscation scheme at the local level.
Rep. Jonathon Hill, who requested the opinion on September 27, said:
“Mayor Benjamin and the Columbia City Council pose an extreme risk to the right to self-defense, not only in the city limits, but also statewide. Not only have they openly defied state law by passing this ordinance, but they have also completely circumvented the human rights protections afforded by the United States Constitution in the second, fourth, and fifth amendments.”
Hill argued the ordinance violated the state’s firearm preemption law that prohibits any “governing body of any county, municipality, or other political subdivision” from regulating the “transfer, ownership, possession, carrying, or transportation” of firearms, and the Attorney General agreed.
In the final sentence of the opinion the AG’s office states, “[T]he Columbia ordinance not only undermines state law, but undercuts the Second Amendment.”
On September 19, the Attorney General’s office released a similar opinion on Columbia’s so-called “ghost gun” ordinance.
Many gun rights supporters argue these opinions are good first steps, but that the Attorney General should take legal action to prevent the enforcement of these anti-gun ordinances.
The “Red Flag” opinion, written by Assistant Attorney General David Jones, argues that while Columbia’s ordinance violates the state’s firearm preemption law, the office does not have the authority to strike down a city ordinance. They assert that only the courts may invalidate a municipal ordinance.
Rep. Hill said:
“I appreciate this thorough examination of the ordinance and of the laws of this state, and I now call on Attorney General Wilson, as chief prosecutor of South Carolina, to take the necessary legal actions to enforce state law and prevent further overreaches by local government officials.”
Gun rights organizations have expressed similar sentiments.
Palmetto Gun Rights, the South Carolina state affiliate of the National Association for Gun Rights, sent an email to their members asking them to contact Wilson and urge him to take action to enforce the state preemption law.
“While the opinions are good, Attorney General Wilson still needs to do his job by enforcing state law and striking down these illegal ordinances,” according to Brenden Boudreau, Director of Field Operations at the National Association for Gun Rights.
It is clear that gun owners aren’t backing down from their efforts to defeat gun control and restore the right to keep and bear arms across the Palmetto State.
D.J. Parten is the Executive Director of Florida Gun Rights and the Southeast Regional Director for the National Association for Gun Rights.