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S.C. governor backs ‘constitutional carry’

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South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, who, as a member of the legislature in 2006, supported the death penalty for repeat sex offenders, was back in the news yesterday revealing that she also backs a measure that would make it legal to carry a handgun openly or concealed without a permit, according to The State newspaper in Columbia, S.C.

Haley’s remarks came during a bill signing in which she inked legislation that will allow armed citizens to carry in restaurants and bars, provided they don’t drink alcohol, and that firearms are not prohibited by the businesses. That contrasts with Washington law, which allows carry in restaurants, but not lounges or taverns. South Carolina gun prohibitionists were not happy.

The conservative Republican governor elicited gasps from anti-gunners when she reported that among her Christmas gifts was a handgun, as this column reported back on Dec. 27. The governor received the Beretta Px4 Storm pistol from her husband.

South Carolina’s proposed Constitutional Carry Act is sponsored by State Sen. Lee Bright, who, according to the newspaper, said the Second Amendment “gives Americans the right to carry firearms without government restrictions.”

Bright might get an argument about that from gun rights advocates who would be quick to tell the Spartanburg Republican that the Second Amendment doesn’t “give” anybody anything. The amendment merely affirms that the individual right exists and protects it from infringement from the government. Many will argue that there’s been a lot of infringing over the years by various levels of government.

In discussing her position with reporters, Haley observed, “Criminals are dangerous, and I think that every resident should be allowed to protect themselves from criminals.”

According to WLTX, Haley also noted, “When a criminal knows that individuals can protect themselves criminals are less likely to do things, because they know that they can be harmed. We want people to defend themselves; we've always wanted that in South Carolina. We believe in those liberties and those rights.”

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