Medical Freedom: Rescind Guidance on HCQ

I have great concern that the information regarding successful treatments of COVID-19 is being suppressed and thwarted by tech giants, bureaucrats, and the medical-industrial complex in general.

We should ask the question, who does it benefit to not allow the free flow of information so that the People of South Carolina have all the tools necessary and possible to beat COVID-19?

The State of South Carolina should FIGHT for FREEDOM in medicine to cut through the bureaucratic red tape and SAVE LIVES. I believe that it is critical that these decisions be left to doctors and patients.

Please join me in calling on Governor McMaster, the State Board of Medical Examiners and the Board of Pharmacy to rescind the “Joint Guidance Regarding Prescribing and Dispensing of Hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, and Azithromycin” from March 25th, 2020 which discourages the prescribing of these medicines.

👉SIGN THE PETITION HERE TO ALLOW FREEDOM, SO THAT SOUTH CAROLINA CAN BEAT COVID-19:
https://mailchi.mp/e73664385ff9/freedom-in-medicine

Can Liberty Survive the Marxist Purge?

Appeared in the Abbeville Institute:

While mobs continue tearing down monuments and shaming elected officials into removing statues of historical significance — from Christopher Columbus to Gen. Robert E. Lee and even Thomas Jefferson and George Washington — Clemson University (which receives over $100 million annually from the State of South Carolina) quietly decided to remove John C. Calhoun’s name from its honors college. Never mind the fact that Calhoun’s family donated the land on which the college now sits — and that it is named after Calhoun’s son-in-law.

It’s no secret that, on both the federal and state levels, tremendous sums of government funding support education. In my home state of South Carolina, K-12 and higher education comprised a total of $5.5 billion in fiscal year 2019-20. Much of this is being used to fund our demise through social justice indoctrination curricula, which are so deeply rooted in Marxist notions of race, class, and gender that graduates are leaving college prepared to do little other than protest and riot.

Make no mistake: these culture-canceling Marxists seek to destroy America and replace it with something more closely resembling their own dogmatic, dystopian worldview. Cultural conditioning such as this is only the beginning of their efforts. Where cultural revolutions go, political revolution may soon follow.

From the earliest years of the Bolshevik revolution to the rise of communism in China, cultural revolutions have always begun with simplicities like language, symbols, monuments, and art. Before long, streets, schools, merchandise, and anything else that displays some form of American greatness will face the wrath of the Marxist mob.

No matter what they do, however, they cannot erase the timeless contributions of men like Jefferson, Washington, and Calhoun, who, through years of war and revolution, built and maintained a republic unlike anything the world had ever seen before — a limited government system borne straight from the ideas of the Enlightenment. Related Posts

This purge of American individualism is accelerating at an unprecedented rate. “Mia” (the woman pictured on the front of the Land O’Lakes logo) was removed from Land O’Lakes’ packaging weeks ago. Other product lines are quickly removing all their icons as well.

A few years ago, my family and I visited Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. Walking through the town’s historic streets, one can see reenactors bringing the world of 1765 to life. While watching a Thomas Jefferson reenactor in front of the House of Burgesses, a female spectator approached the actor and screamed in his face, “Mr. Jefferson, as a woman I have no rights!”

The actor stayed in character and maintained his composure. Again, the lady yelled, “But Mr. Jefferson, I have no rights!”

The actor paused for a moment, then resumed his speech. The lady then interrupted a third time, yelling louder than before, “Mr. Jefferson, as a woman I have no rights!”

The actor finally broke character, leaned over to the lady and said, “Ma’am, if you don’t allow me to write the Declaration of Independence, none of us may ever have any rights secured.”

Where would we be today if not for the sacrifices and achievements of those that came before us? This is not to say that the founders were perfect people; no one has ever been perfect. They wrestled with the issues of their time, just as we do today. We recognize these people for their contributions to society, and we learn from their mistakes.

At the end of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, Benjamin Franklin famously referred to America as “a republic, if you can keep it.” Thirteen states came together for the defense of life, liberty, and property. From the onset of the union, there was vigorous debate on the proper role of government.

The founders recognized that individuals are free at birth, and by the laws of nature have unalienable rights. In fact, while many of them owned slaves, they wrestled with the issue itself. In the early years of Jefferson’s legal career, he represented slaves pro-bono in an effort to gain their freedom. While he lost these cases, he still advanced the cause of freedom for everyone by writing the Declaration of Independence — the foundation for all the rights and liberties Americans enjoy today.

Progress should be measured by the preservation of our liberties, not in the condemnation of the dead. For those arguing that American history and monuments are the root of our problems, I urge them to realize that individual responsibility is the catalyst for freedom. At some point, people must stop blaming others and realize that they as an individual are responsible for their own destiny.

Originally published at The Libertarian Republic and reprinted with permission.

South Carolina Bills Would Take Steps Toward Treating Gold and Silver as Money

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Dec. 16, 2019) – Two bills prefiled in the South Carolina House would take important steps toward treating gold and silver as money instead of commodities and could undermine the Federal Reserves monopoly on money.

Rep. Stewart Jones (R-Laurens) filed both bills.

House Bill 4786 (H4786) would effectively exempt gold, silver and platinum bullion from state capital gains taxes. Passage of this legislation would eliminate a significant barrier to using gold and silver in everyday transactions, a foundational step for people to undermine the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on money.

IN PRACTICE

With the passage of H4786, South Carolina would take a step toward treating gold, silver and platinum as money instead of a commodity. As Sound Money Defense League policy director Jp Cortez testified during a committee hearing on a similar bill in Wyoming in 2018, charging taxes on money itself is beyond the pale.

“In effect, states that collect taxes on purchases of precious metals are inherently saying gold and silver are not money at all.”

Imagine if you asked a grocery clerk to break a $5 bill and he charged you a 35 cent tax. Silly, right? After all, you were only exchanging one form of money for another. But that’s essentially what South Carolina’s capital gains tax on gold and silver bullion does. By eliminating this tax on the exchange of gold and silver, South Carolina would treat specie as money instead of a commodity. This represents a small step toward reestablishing gold and silver as legal tender and breaking down the Fed’s monopoly on money.

“We ought not to tax money – and that’s a good idea. It makes no sense to tax money,” former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul said during testimony in support an Arizona bill that repealed capital gains taxes on gold and silver in that state. “Paper is not money, it’s fraud,” he continued.

GOLD BULLION DEPOSITORY

Stewart also prefiled House Bill 4787 (H4787). This joint resolution would create a study committee to determine the feasibility and efficacy of the establishment of a bullion repository in this state to store gold, silver, and other metals for the state’s reserves and for investments. The committee would be required to issue a report of its findings to the General Assembly by January 15, 2021.

South Carolina has a model it could follow. In the summer of 2015, Texas Gov. Doug Abbot signed a law creating a state gold bullion and precious metal depository in his state. The depository received its first deposits in the summer of 2018. The facility will not only provide a secure place for individuals, businesses, cities, counties, government agencies and even other countries to store gold and other precious metals, the law also creates a mechanism to facilitate the everyday use of gold and silver in transactions. In short, a person will eventually be able to deposit gold or silver – and pay other people through electronic means or checks – in sound money.

A state gold repository also creates an avenue toward financial independence. Countries around the world, including China, Russia and Turkey, have been buying gold to limit their dependence on the U.S. dollar. University of Houston political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus said a state depository can serve a similar function for Texas.

“This is another in a long line of ways to make Texas more self-reliant and less tethered to the federal government. The financial impact is small but the political impact is telling, Many conservatives are interested in returning to the gold standard and circumvent the Federal reserve in whatever small way they can.”

The Tennessee legislature passed a resolution declaring support for the creation of a gold bullion depository in the Volunteer State back in 2016, but never followed up with any legislation. If South Carolina does create a study committee, it would be imperative to follow up with further legislation to actually establish a repository once the report is issued.

Stewart has also prefiled a bill that would make gold and silver coins legal tender in the state.

Repealing taxes on gold and silver, and creating institutions that facilitate the use of sound money creates the possibility of currency competition and could ultimately undermine the Federal Reserve’s monopoly on money. Constitutional tender expert Professor William Greene wrote that when people in multiple states actually start using gold and silver instead of Federal Reserve Notes, it could create a “reverse Gresham’s effect,” drive out bad money, effectively nullify the Federal Reserve, and end the federal government’s monopoly on money.

“Over time, as residents of the state use both Federal Reserve notes and silver and gold coins, the fact that the coins hold their value more than Federal Reserve notes do will lead to a “reverse Gresham’s Law” effect, where good money (gold and silver coins) will drive out bad money (Federal Reserve notes). As this happens, a cascade of events can begin to occur, including the flow of real wealth toward the state’s treasury, an influx of banking business from outside of the state – as people in other states carry out their desire to bank with sound money – and an eventual outcry against the use of Federal Reserve notes for any transactions.”

Once things get to that point, Federal Reserve notes would become largely unwanted and irrelevant for ordinary people. Nullifying the Fed on a state by state level is what will get us there.

WHAT’S NEXT

H4786 and 4787 will be officially introduced and referred to the House  Committee on Ways and Means when the regular session adjourns on Jan. 13, 2020. They will have to pass committee by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.

Originally appeared in Tenth Amendment Center.

South Carolina Bill would set Foundation to Block Federal Gun Control

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Nov. 25, 2019) – A bill prefiled in the South Carolina House would take a step toward creating a “gun rights sanctuary state” by banning state and local enforcement of any future federal gun control. Passage into law would represent an important foundational step toward undermining federal acts that infringe on the right to keep and bear arms within the state.

Rep. Stewart Jones (R-Laurens) filed House Bill 4704 (H.4704) on Nov. 20. Titled the “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” the legislation would ban the allocation of public funds, personnel, or property for the implementation, regulation, or enforcement of any executive orders, presidential directives or acts of the United States Congress passed after Jan. 1, 2020, that regulate the ownership, use, or possession of firearms, ammunition, or firearm accessories.

In August, Jones and 40 of his colleagues in the South Carolina General Assembly sent a letter to President Trump and the South Carolina congressional delegation warning about the dangers of Red Flag legislation. While the administration seems to have backed off from federal red flag laws, there are now plans being floated to incentivize states to enforce their own red flag laws.

“Unfortunately, there is now talk about pushing federal funding to states that will enforce red flag laws and potentially other gun confiscation methods. I am calling on state legislators across the United States to send a message to the federal government by passing the Second Amendment Preservation Act in order to prohibit any infringement on our right to keep and bear arms … The Founding Fathers warned us to never trade liberty for security, but that is exactly what is happening before our very eyes.”

On March 20, 2014, Idaho Gov. Butch Otter signed a similar bill that effectively nullifies any federal gun laws passed after that date.

EFFECTIVE

The federal government relies heavily on state cooperation to implement and enforce almost all of its laws, regulations and acts – including gun control. By simply withdrawing this necessary cooperation, states and localities can nullify in effect many federal actions. As noted by the National Governors’ Association during the partial government shutdown of 2013, “states are partners with the federal government on most federal programs.”

Based on James Madison’s advice for states and individuals in Federalist #46, a “refusal to cooperate with officers of the Union” represents an extremely effective method to bring down federal gun control measures because most enforcement actions rely on help, support and leadership from state and local governments.

Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano agreed. In a televised discussion on the issue, he noted that a single state taking this step would make federal gun laws “nearly impossible” to enforce.

“Partnerships don’t work too well when half the team quits,” said Michael Boldin of the Tenth Amendment Center. “By withdrawing all resources and participation in federal gun control, states and even local governments can help bring these unconstitutional act to their much-needed end.”

Some gun-rights supporters have argued that such a measure is “unnecessary” because it addresses a nonexistent problem with an NRA-backed president. Trump’s bump stock ban obliterates this fallacy. Furthermore, the Trump administration actually ramped up enforcement of federal gun laws in 2017.

LEGAL BASIS

The state of South Carolina can legally bar state agents from enforcing federal gun control. Refusal to cooperate with federal enforcement rests on a well-established legal principle known as the anti-commandeering doctrine.

Simply put, the federal government cannot force states to help implement or enforce any federal act or program. The anti-commandeering doctrine is based primarily on five Supreme Court cases dating back to 1842. Printz v. U.S. serves as the cornerstone.

“We held in New York that Congress cannot compel the States to enact or enforce a federal regulatory program. Today we hold that Congress cannot circumvent that prohibition by conscripting the States’ officers directly. The Federal Government may neither issue directives requiring the States to address particular problems, nor command the States’ officers, or those of their political subdivisions, to administer or enforce a federal regulatory program. It matters not whether policy making is involved, and no case by case weighing of the burdens or benefits is necessary; such commands are fundamentally incompatible with our constitutional system of dual sovereignty”

WHAT’S NEXT

H.4704 will be officially introduced and referred to the House Judiciary Committee when the regular session begins Jan. 13, 2020. It will need to pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.

The Founders Warned Us About the Fed

Originally appeared in the Tenth Amendment Center on October 7th, 2019

The Federal Reserve just lowered interest rates for the second time this year and announced more quantitative easing by injecting even more U.S. dollars into the market. The days of cheap money will soon come to an end, and I fear that many people won’t realize what’s happening until the rug is pulled out from under them.

As economist Henry Hazlitt wrote, the practices of the Fed distort the real-world market indicators of cost, future prices, investments and production. A recent study from the National Association for Business Economics showed that 72 percent of economists now predict that a recession will occur between 2020 and the end of 2021. Some have even warned that the U.S. is on the brink of the biggest bubble in world history — not just a correction of a business cycle or another recession, but a complete collapse of the U.S. dollar.

Yet the dangers of centralized banking are not new knowledge. For centuries, people (including many of our founding fathers) have tried to warn us of the numerous threats posed by institutions like the Federal Reserve.

Today, it’s understood by many that the recklessness of the Fed allowed for the subprime mortgages that caused the Great Recession of 2008. With over $22 trillion in debt, $120 trillion in unfunded liabilities, and, soon, an all-time high debt-to-GDP ratio (comparable to World War II levels), however, it’s not overstating it to say that the Fed-facilitated out-of-control federal government spending constitutes the greatest threat to the American way of life in history.

To understand the full extent of the debt and the destruction of the dollar, it’s essential to realize that paper money has a history of being printed as bills of credit to finance runaway government. In 1775, the Founders attempted to use paper money without gold or silver backing, and they found that the inflation robbed them of any value. In 1788, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “Paper is poverty. It is only the ghost of money, and not money itself.”

The Coinage Act of 1792 then set specific ratios for gold and silver coinage, placing gold and silver in control rather than a central bank. This lasted until the passage of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913, which allowed for the formation of the Federal Reserve System just two decades before Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt started to come after private ownership of gold and silver in the 1930s. In 1944, the Bretton Woods system made the U.S. dollar the reserve currency of the world, when it was still partially backed by gold and silver.

Finally, in 1971, the Nixon Administration suspended wages, issued price controls, and canceled dollar-to-gold convertibility, completing the final step in ending the “gold standard.” This gave the central government planners — and the federal reserve — the power to print money without restraint. This is how the national debt has been able to reach the levels that it has. The only thing backing the U.S. dollar today is public debt.

Remember when Coke was a nickel? In 1913 (the year the Fed was founded) a bottle of Coke cost five cents. Today, a bottle of Coca-Cola costs an average of $1.79. While there are many factors (like supply and demand, cost of goods, etc.) that help set prices, inflation plays a critical part. At an average inflation rate of 3.12 percent annually, inflation alone accounts for $1.30 of the actual cost of Coke.

The addition of more U.S. dollars doesn’t mean that anyone is more wealthy; in fact, it means that the dollars you have are worth less. You will need a higher amount of dollars to buy the same goods and services. Hence, saving inflated dollars, in many cases, is losing value. Those who save money are being robbed.

With the continued decline of the dollar, there could also be hyperinflation on an unprecedented scale. Both James Madison and Thomas Jefferson warned that “the greatest threat to be feared” was the “public curse” of “public debt”, and that “banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.” The founding fathers understood the dangers of centralized manipulation of the money supply, the hidden taxation of inflation, and the control of buying power. They understood that gold and silver are real money.

Furthermore, if we look at the history of money, we can see that precious metals, mainly gold and silver, have been used for coinage for over 2600 years; in one way or another, gold and silver have been used by people for over 6000 years.

American revolutionary leader Christopher Gadsden once said in Sept. 1764 that “The evils attending a wanton exercise of power, in some of the colonies, by issuing a redundancy of paper currency, has always been avoided by this province, by a proper attention to the dangerous consequences of such a practice, and the fatal influence it must have upon public credit.”

People across the U.S. should heed his warnings by allowing gold and silver to be used as legal tender once again. Some states like Utah have done just that. While this won’t stop the Federal Reserve’s destruction of the dollar, it will allow people to convert dollars to sound money before a collapse. Sound money, like gold and silver, acts as a check and balance on big government, a hedge against inflation, and a way to combat manipulation by the Fed.

This is exactly why, in my home state, I will soon be filing the “2020 South Carolina Sound Money Bill”, allowing South Carolinians to use gold and silver as legal tender. I will also introduce legislation to exempt gold and silver from capital gains tax, both of which are already exempt from sales tax in South Carolina. We the People can restore sound money by using the Ninth and Tenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution.

It is my hope that, with the success of these bills, other policymakers elsewhere will become inspired to lead by example on this vital issue as well. The key to protecting the American way of life from the federal reserve’s obliteration of our currency rests with the legislatures, but we must heed the lessons of history now.

The Second Amendment is Under Siege

The White House has announced new plans on gun control. House Democrats are pushing another universal background check bill, and high-profile Republicans in both chambers of Congress are campaigning for a new federal grant program that would incentivize states to pass “red flag” laws. It is not overstating the case to say that there has never been a greater threat to due process and the Second Amendment.

“What we can’t do is fail to pass something,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, when asked about last month’s shootings in El Paso, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; and Philadelphia.

Statements like this should infuriate the American people for multiple reasons. Never in American history have we seen our Second Amendment and due process rights under siege from so many different directions. In the midst of such a volatile and unprecedented situation, careless remarks like these from our nation’s leaders cannot be tolerated.

This is why, earlier this month, 40 of my colleagues in the South Carolina General Assembly joined me in a letter to President Trump and Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott urging them to address the numerous factors that are being ignored on this issue, including the erosion of our civil liberties the dangers of gun-free zones.

Academic studies roundly demonstrate that more laws simply will not prevent mass shootings. On the contrary, the key to curtailing gun violence lies not in destroying our Constitutional liberties but in recognizing the sacred right of every law-abiding American to self-defense, both from violent crime and the threat of a tyrannical government.

Likewise, 94% of mass shootings actually occur in gun-free zones, according to research conducted by the Crime Prevention Center. Multiple studies elsewhere point to states and cities with the toughest anti-gun laws (such as Chicago and Washington, D.C.) as having the highest crime rates, rather than the other way around.

Our letter also points out the role the mainstream media holds in sensationalizing gun violence and setting a false narrative that violent crimes are on the rise. Just like the notion that gun-free zones make us safer, this couldn’t be any further from the truth. In fact, data gathered by the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicate that violent crime in the United States has steadily decreased since 1993.

I have taken an oath before God to defend the Constitution and am proud of my fellow legislators for joining me on this defining issue. Even with such a stirring display of unity, however, vigilance and courage will be demanded of us as the federal government’s crusade against our Constitutional rights continues.

To the elected officials across the U.S. who still believe in liberty: Now is not the time to stop fighting. President Calvin Coolidge warned that “it is much more important to kill bad bills than to pass good ones.” The inevitable slippery slope that follows when government neglects due process is one that we cannot afford to fall down. I hope that this attempt to further destroy our liberties fails.

Originally appeared in Washington Examiner on September 26th, 2019

Fetal heartbeat will stand up in court

As state Rep. John McCravy has fought for the adoption of a stringent abortion ban in South Carolina, he’s called upon his Christian faith and conservative values to champion the cause.

But on Tuesday, at the start of a Senate Medical Affairs subcommittee meeting that spent the day hearing public input on the Greenwood Republican’s H. 3020, which would effectively outlaw abortions after six weeks, the lawmaker adopted a different strategy.

“I’ve been an attorney for 35 years and I started out as a staff attorney for the Supreme Court of South Carolina, I’ve argued cases in every court in South Carolina, I’ve argued federal cases, and I’ve had a case go up to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, so I’ve had a chance to have some appellate experience,” McCravy said. “We believe that first of all, the informed consent provisions of this bill are clearly constitutional. No lawyer would argue that they are not.”

The “South Carolina Fetal Protection from Abortion Act,” which moved through the House last year, would make significant changes to existing law that would essentially bar abortions in the state.

Key provisions of the measure include:

• Requiring testing for a fetal heartbeat by ultrasound prior to an abortion being performed, and if one is detected, prohibiting the procedure

• Allowing a mother to see the ultrasound and notifying her if a heartbeat is detected — modifying existing informed consent law

• Advising a mother of the probability of a successful delivery once a heartbeat is detected; and

• Creating exceptions to the law in cases of an ectopic pregnancy or if a mother’s life is in danger or if a woman is the victim of rape or incest.

Because a heartbeat can be heart as soon as six weeks into a pregnancy, H. 3020 would drop the current threshold as to when an abortion can be performed to that level from its current 20-week ceiling.

“We believe that first of all, the informed consent provisions of this bill are clearly constitutional. No lawyer would argue that they are not,” McCravy said. “There’s also a consensus among medical experts, scientists, lawyers and ethicists that the standard of viability has changed, that we now know many more things about the unborn child that we did not know in the 1970s.”

State Sen. Marlon Kimpson, D-Charleston, asked McCravy how many other states have similar laws on the books.

“Do you know if any state that has passed a similar bill has gone into effect? Is it current law, or is it in current litigation,” Kimpson asked. Nine states have given approval to “fetal heartbeat” legislation, and all have been challenged in court.

McCravy said the issue is ripe for review by the United States Supreme Court.

“There’s a strong likelihood, we believe, that the U.S. Supreme Court doesn’t overturn Roe v. Wade, they can change the viability standard to be measured by the heartbeat, which now has been proven by medical science to deliver a 90 to 95% probability of safe delivery,” McCravy said. “As we all know from a constitutional standpoint there are many, many cases decided in district court that are overturned by the Supreme Court, so until it gets to that point, we’re not going to have an absolute reading on it.”

McCravy wasn’t the only Lakelands-based witness to testify Tuesday.

“While not the beginning of life, the heart is a universally recognized indicator of life. In frantic elements and situations, we often hear, ‘can you find a pulse, is their heart still beating?’” said Greenwood pastor Tony Foster. “This is because science has already shown us a way to determine if someone is alive. The heartbeat bill stops discrimination against our preborn babies in the womb.”

Foster said he was particularly troubled by the more than 20 million black babies whose lives have been terminated since the early 1970s, drawing a question not only from Kimpson, but from state Sen. Mia McLeod, D-Columbia. Both are also black.

“When you mention that you’re in favor of this bill, you talked about the atrocities that would result, do you think it’s an atrocity for our legislature not to fund programs and support for the women and men who are giving birth? We talk a lot about heartbeats and life, and its interesting to me that we can be pro-life one day and pro-death the very next day,” McLeod said.

Foster said he is concerned with life at all stages and wasn’t able to testify in favor of the General Assembly passing landmark hate crime legislation last year because he was on a ministerial trip to England.

State Rep. Stewart Jones, R-Laurens, whose House District 14 includes a portion of Greenwood, said lawmakers have a moral imperative to adopt legislation such as H. 3020.

“It’s not about the state deciding, it’s not about the individual deciding, but it comes down to the issue that we as individuals in society have to stand for life. The basic premise of government is that we are going to protect and defend life,” Jones said. “I’m asking this body to stand for 3020, advance this cause Let’s protect and defend life. Give people the ability to have that self-determination.”

Red flag laws won’t stop mass shootings — ending gun-free zones will

Former Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel once said, “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things that you think you could not do before.”

True to that statement, many emotionally-charged politicians — including President Trump, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-Texas)— are now calling for so-called “red flag” laws. Also known as “Extreme Risk Protection Orders” (ERPOs), these laws allow for the confiscation of firearms without due process; this is unconstitutional and goes against the very fabric of our Republic, eroding both due process and a person’s natural right to self-defense.

Red flag laws have already been abused in various states and cases, having been passed in 17 states and Washington, D.C. since 1999. If passed at the federal level, it will be another blow toward our liberty, much like the indefinite detention provisions of the 2012 NDAA, warrantless wiretapping of the PATRIOT Act, metadata collection by the NSA, and the expansion of the unconstitutional FISA courts.

People should also be concerned that red flag laws will be used to target political adversaries and used against anyone that government officials may disagree with. President Trump, of all people, should know what it feels like to be wrongly targeted, as both the FBI and FISA courts were used against him when he ran for office.

That being said, it’s alarming to see him asking social media networks for help in targeting individuals that may pose a danger. Just think, if you’ve ever been in “Facebook jail” or banned from Twitter, you could be flagged.

And with a world more connected now more than ever before thanks to social media and instant news, it’s essential to realize the role that the mainstream media has played in sensationalizing mass shooting tragedies. According to data provided by the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, violent crime rates have been in decline since the 1990s, despite rises in public perception of crime rates.

Among the many things ignored by the mainstream media are the countless incidents where a good person with a gun has prevented a tragedy, even though these positive incidents happen far more often than not.

This is why if elected officials truly want to help these situations, they must eliminate laws such as gun-free zones that restrict law-abiding gun owners from carrying in specific places. According to the Crime Prevention Center, since 1950, 94 percent of mass shootings have occurred in gun-free zones.

Similarly, the cities and states with the most extreme gun laws in the nation have some of the nation’s highest crime rates. These laws also led to dangerous situations that place both law enforcement and citizens in harm’s way.

The bottom line: Red flag laws are not just unconstitutional — they simply don’t work. We the people must realize that the government cannot be in all places to stop all crimes. Only a well-armed citizenry can act as a deterrent to both criminals and big government.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “The Constitution of most of our states (and of the United States) assert that all power is inherent in the people; that they may exercise it by themselves; that it is their right and duty to be at all times armed.”

Government officials today should realize that they have no right to infringe upon an individual’s right to keep and bear arms. In fact, the Second Amendment does not give people any rights; these rights are already endowed by nature. The United States Constitution is unique because it bars the government from infringing on the pre-existing right to keep and bear arms.

As a member of the South Carolina House of Representatives, I have had many conversations with constituents concerned about giving the government any more authority over our God-given right to keep and bear arms. With an alarming number of elected officials unable to see that the answer to the problem is more freedom, not less, we should never forget that the worst forms of genocide have always started with the erosion of due process and the confiscation of firearms.

Therefore, I’m calling on all elected officials to obey their Oath to the Constitution by defending the Bill of Rights and opposing any new attempts to pass red flag laws.

Stewart Jones is a state representative from South Carolina House District 14.

Originally appeared in The Hill.

Thumb’s Up for Stewart Jones in House District 14 Special Election

Republican Stewart Jones, as expected, won the special election in S.C. House District 14 and will succeed Mike Pitts, who served the district from 2012 until his retirement early this year.

Most of District 14 is in northern and western Laurens County. Unofficially, Jones received 1,932 votes to McDaniel’s 1,490, or, in terms of percentage, 56.41 to 43.50 percent.

Jones vowed to remain true to his north star of conservatism.

“My message is just like our founders,” Jones said. “Government at best is a necessary evil, and at worst, it’s intolerable. I will apply the same principles I applied on County Council. That means increasing transparency. We need greater accountability with our roads. Better schools that allow more choice. Limited government is efficient government.

“Government says it needs more money, more resources. Everybody needs more money, more resources. … I think, in a way, government has forgotten those principles. … Government spends money in some ways that I don’t agree with at all. If you make government more transparent, the vast majority of the population sees it, and then it pressures the state legislators to do the right thing.”

In a district of 20,271 registered voters, 3,444 cast ballots. Three were write-ins. The turnout was 16.99 percent.

Both candidates are members of Laurens County Council. McDaniel will remain. The next special election will be to succeed Jones, likely in late summer.

The race shifted from McDaniel to Jones as the votes coming in went from urban to suburban and rural. The Democrat won 126-27 in Laurens 1 and 156-15 in Laurens 4. GOP votes rolled in from Hickory Tavern, where Jones won by a 223-36 margin, and also in Maddens (156-70), Jones (19-2), Martins-Poplar Springs (49-11) and Greenpond (146-27).

Jones won Laurens 3, 5 and 6, but McDaniel won rural votes in Cross Hill and Waterloo.

The candidates met with their supporters afterward on opposite sides of the Laurens Square, with the victorious at Roma’s and the vanquished at the Witherspoon Building.

The electoral dynamics will change in 2020, when Jones will presumably be running in a general election. When asked if he might consider running again, McDaniel was a bit taken aback, amid the disappointment of defeat, that the question was posed.

“I don’t have any aspiration right now, but I haven’t ruled it out,” he said. “I haven’t really thought about it, to tell the truth.

“I have no regrets. I think we have a good message and that it has some resonance with the people.”

Speaking in behalf of the Laurens County Republican Party, chair Brenda Stewart said, “We are very excited about Stewart’s victory. The Democratic Party gave their best effort, even recruiting support from the national level, and they were still unable to flip this seat. This shows that, even with a well-organized campaign, the values of the Democratic Party are not consistent with the conservative values of Laurens County voters. We believe Stewart will be an excellent representative of those values in Columbia, and the voters have affirmed that this evening.”

Originally appeared in GoLaurens.com

Congressman Jeff Duncan Endorses Stewart Jones for House 14

Third District Congressman Jeff Duncan made a formal endorsement of Stewart Jones, the Republican nominee for the special election in S.C. House District 14.

Duncan, of Laurens, is also a Republican.

On April 23, Jones, a current member of County Council, is opposed by Democrat Garrett McDaniel in the election to succeed Rep. Mike Pitts, who retired.

District 14 mostly covers northern and western Laurens County, as well as part of Greenwood County.

Duncan spoke at a campaign dinner held on Saturday afternoon at The Clock of Laurens. Among other speakers were Pitts and Rep. Mark Willis, who represents sections of the county in District 16.

The speakers discussed the upcoming special election, voter participation and what issues the South Carolina Republican Party will focus on leading up to the 2020 election cycle.

Originally appeared in GoLaurens.com