South Carolina: Gold, Frankincense, and Handguns

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While many politicians in the District of Columbia were dismayed when the U.S Supreme Court struck down DC's handgun law, people in other parts of the country got ready to celebrate. The South Carolina legislature mustered the two-thirds majority it needed in both chambers to override the Governor's veto of the "Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday". The "holiday" establishes an annual, two day sales tax exemption for handguns, rifles, and shotguns. That exemption will occur each year on two of the busiest days of the Holiday shopping season, the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. That Friday is commonly referred to as "Black Friday" because of the heavy traffic and crowds surrounding most shopping centers. (Consider that before you cut someone off in the shopping mall parking lot on Black Friday this year.)

Adding a twist to this story, however, is the fact that the bill containing the "holiday" may in fact be unconstitutional, as concerns have been raised as to whether it violates the state constitution's "single subject" requirement demanding that every bill deal with only one policy area. The bill includes a provision requiring oil companies to sell "blendable" fuel that can be mixed with ethanol, which perhaps stretches the definition of a "single subject".

As a result, some observers think the entire bill, including the "holiday", may end up never taking effect as a result of constitutional challenges. South Carolina may therefore need to begin formulating new ways to promote its vision of arming more of its citizens, though as this ITEP Policy Brief explains, a sales tax holiday may not necessarily be the most preferable route to doing so.

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