Gov. Nikki Haley is very open about her stance on 2nd Amendment issues. During the last legislative session, Haley said if given the opportunity, she would sign pro-gun bills into law: Restaurant Carry – S.308, (allows CWP holders to carry in restaurants that serve alcohol) and Constitutional Carry – S.115 (similar to Vermont’s law, it restores 2nd Amendment rights and allows citizens to open carry firearms without a permit).
“My stance on guns: As a CWP holder, I am pro 2nd amendment and pro 10th amendment and will defend both. I would support open carry and reciprocity with any other state,” said Haley via Facebook.
Although South Carolina has a Republican controlled house and senate, the “red state” has a terrible record passing pro-2nd Amendment legislation.
During last legislative session, the NRA issued this statement regarding the Restaurant Carry bill – S308:
“When it became clear that some anti-gun Senators would not relent, and the passage of S308 was in jeopardy before the legislative deadline, state Senator Shane Massey (R-District 25) offered the amendment that broke the gridlock. Please be clear that Senator Massey did not support the language he offered, but he did understand that it was necessary to ensure passage of S308.”
The “detrimentally weakened” Restaurant Carry bill passed in the senate and the house, but it was delayed by Democrats. The bill never made it to Gov. Haley’s desk.
Talbert Black from Campaign for Liberty blamed Sen. Larry Martin (R-District 2) for Constitutional Carry – S115 not passing.
Black said in an email, earlier this year: “With a crossover deadline of May 1st, Larry is trying to kill any chance of S115 becoming law this year. Martin is dead set on killing Constitutional Carry and is using every tool in his playbook to do so.”
Sen. Martin, who openly opposes “open carry,” believes that those who came out to support the bill during the public hearings had “very loud voices,” but did not reflect the views of most South Carolinians.
Senator John Scott (D-District 77), while arguing against the Restaurant Carry bill said, “sometimes it’s up to the legislators to protect the citizens from themselves.”
It is against this backdrop that Gov. Haley appears to be popular with gun owners in the state. Though Gov. Haley is not perfect, citizens find it refreshing to see a Governor so openly pro-2nd Amendment in the midst of anti-gun rhetoric from the left.
Gov. Haley is up for re-election next year and needs Tea Party support. Though Haley is known as a “Tea Party Darling,” many conservatives and libertarians feel betrayed by her corporate welfare deals. Earlier this year, Haley signed a rushed bill into law giving aerospace giant Boeing Co. a $120 million taxpayer-funded gift, according to TheNerve.org.
Gov. Haley needs to earn some political capital with her base, and signing pro-gun legislation into law will definitely help her re-election chances next year.