South Carolina Considers "Unorganized Militia" Bill To Boost Gun Rights

AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane

Our gun rights are under assault like they’ve never been before in American history. Numerous gun control bills have passed the House with still more potentially coming. The White House isn’t just willing to sign these bills, but eager. Only the tiniest of margins holds the line in the Senate.

Gun rights are in peril…

…except at the state level in many places. One of those is South Carolina, where something interesting is up for discussion.

Thousands of South Carolinians are in a militia, they just may not know it yet.

South Carolina law lays out that able-bodied U.S. Citizen South Carolina residents over the age of 17 are part of the state’s “unorganized militia”.

In the event of an invasion, rebellion, or other insurrection, South Carolina’s governor can call everyday citizens into the armed service.

Title 25 of the state codes reads in part:

“…if the Governor shall have ordered into active service all of the available forces of the National Guard of South Carolina and shall consider them insufficient in numbers to properly accomplish the purpose, he may then in addition order out the unorganized militia or such portion thereof as he may deem necessary and cause them to perform such military duty as the circumstances may require.”

A group of Republican State Senators is attempting to use the presence of the unorganized militia in state law to strengthen gun rights within the state.

Sen. Tom Corbin (R-Greenville) filed S. 614 which would enumerate the weapons the unorganized militia have the right to carry:”…an unorganized militia member, at his own expense, shall have the right to possess and keep all arms that could be legally acquired or possessed by a South Carolina citizen as of December 31, 2020. This includes, but is not limited to, shouldered rifles and shotguns, handguns, clips, magazines, all components, and all ammunition fitted for such weapons;”

In other words, it’s a sanctuary law dressed up under the unorganized militia clause of the state constitution.

Not going to lie, I like it.

See, one of the issues you’re going to face with sanctuary laws is that federal law is generally assumed to have supremacy. Making the laws doesn’t actually negate federal law. They’re great and I love seeing them, but they’re better as warnings or examples of just how unpopular gun control laws actually are.

This bill in South Carolina, however, does things differently.

States have their own militias. These days, they’re called “state guards” or “state defense forces,” but they’re part of the organized militias of these states. They’re common and there’s absolutely no issue with these groups existing. What South Carolina is doing is basically use their unorganized militia and making sure they have the tools necessary to serve should it be needed.

They’re not saying the laws don’t apply. They’re just trying to make sure their unorganized militia has access to what it needs to be effective should it be required.

Now, I’m not saying this will pass. I’m also not saying it will do what Corbin seems to intend for it to do. What I am saying is that I like the approach.