South Carolina started the Civil War by firing shots on federal troops at Fort Sumter in on April 12, 1861. And now some state representatives may want to lead The Palmetto State down the path of secession again. This time it’s not about slavery, but about gun laws.
South Carolina state Rep. Mike Pitts and two other state legislators have introduced a bill that would allow the debate on seceding from the U.S. in the event of the government taking away “legally purchased firearms in this State.” This really shows how paranoid gun rights activists are over their precious guns being taken away from them.
Pitts said that he has been considering the proposal amid increasing calls to curb the Second Amendment rights. He denied the bill was in response to retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens’ call to repeal the Second Amendment.
The proposal probably won’t pass this year, but Pitts has pledged to keep the issue alive to protect the Bill of Rights.
“Without a Bill of Rights, our nation is not what it is,” he said during an interview. “I see a lot of stuff where people even talk about totally repealing the Second Amendment, which separates us from the entire rest of the world.”
Pitts maintains that by introducing his bill he is not actually “promoting secession.” He said he doesn’t actually want South Carolina to leave the United States, but he believes the bill is important anyway. He said he wants to make secession “possible if events warrant it.”
South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union before the Civil War over “increasing hostility on the part of the non-slaveholding States to the Institution of Slavery.”
South Carolina has also been in the news due to some infamous events involving guns, such as the Charleston massacre by Dylann Roof. In 2016 there was also a murder trial of a policeman who fatally shot a black motorist in the back in 2015.
Calls for secession over gun rights in other states have happened several times in recent years. In 2016 the issue of secession was introduced at a Texas state convention. In 2013, several counties proposed seceding from the state of Colorado because of proposed gun control restrictions introduced by the legislature.
Some people believe that Russian trolls created a fake secession movement online in order to create conflict and discord in American politics and undermine our democracy.
Nobody believes South Carolina or any other state will ever leave the Union over gun laws or any other reason. But in today’s polarized political environment if they did, there are a lot of people who would just say “Bye!” and let them go on their way.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.