A South Carolina lobbying firm with extensive ties to the GOP has a new client that’s raising some eyebrows. The Southern Group has signed Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety as a client, leading some conservatives in the state to cry foul.
As local website FITSNews reports, the lobbying firm employs several individuals with extensive ties to the Republican party, including a former special assistant to then-Senator Rick Santorum, a former Republican state representative, and a former advisor to George H.W. Bush, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump.
Everytown for Gun Safety would appear to be an odd client for the firm to take on, given the conservative leanings of several staffers and the fact that South Carolina has a strong pro-2A majority in both chambers of the state legislature. FITS suggests that the Southern Group may be engaged in an effort to undermine or undo the state’s firearm preemption laws that prohibit localities from passing and enforcing their own gun control ordinances.
Regular readers of this news outlet will recall this group – founded by failed presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg – is the driving force behind attempts by politicians like liberal Columbia, S.C. mayor Steve Benjamin to impose unconstitutional firearm restrictions on residents of the Palmetto State capital.
And to flout legislative authority in the process …
n passing these unconstitutional anti-gun ordinances, Benjamin is not only attempting to usurp Americans’ Second Amendment right to “keep and bear arms” – he is defying a state law that reserves unto the S.C. General Assembly the right to regulate firearms in South Carolina.
S.C. Code of Laws (§ 23-31-510) explicitly prohibits municipalities in the Palmetto State from passing “any ordinance that regulates or attempts to regulate … the transfer, ownership, possession, carrying, or transportation of firearms, ammunition, components of firearms, or any combination of these things.”
Cut and dried, right? Not to Benjamin and the gun-grabbers, apparently …
Benjamin’s repeated attempts circumvent this law forced S.C. attorney general Alan Wilson to sue Benjamin earlier this year.
Will he win that case? Absolutely …
Unless, of course, Southern’s lobbyists are able to convince state lawmakers to change this law before the case is heard.
That would appear to be an unlikely proposition, given the gains that Republicans made in both the state House and Senate in November. Still, if you’re Michael Bloomberg and you’ve got an unlimited amount of money to spend on your anti-gun zealotry, why not throw a few bucks into lobbying Republicans in South Carolina to change the state’s preemption law?
I can’t help but wonder, however, if the Southern Group’s willingness to work with anti-gun groups like Everytown will hurt the firm’s reputation among conservatives in the state. It’s one thing to take corporate cash from entities like Verizon and Duke Energy. It’s another to pocket cash from the country’s biggest gun control advocate.
My guess is that any attempts to undo the state’s preemption language is dead on arrival in the state legislature, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on the upcoming legislative session and any inroads Bloomberg might make with South Carolina lawmakers.