Judge sides with SC attorney general in Columbia gun laws case

·2 min read

A state judge has ruled in favor of the state attorney general’s office over the city of Columbia in a lawsuit about a trio of gun laws the city passed in 2019.

Judge Jocelyn Newman ruled in favor of S.C. Attorney General Alan Wilson’s office in the case. Wilson sued the city back in January 2020, initially attempting to have the matter heard before the state Supreme Court. However, the Supreme Court referred the case back to the lower courts. Wilson subsequently took the case to the court of common pleas in April 2020, and both sides have been filing various pleadings and motions ever since.

The three gun ordinances were adopted by the city in 2019. One of them added homemade “ghost guns” to the city’s nuisance ordinance. Another allowed for the seizure of guns from people under an extreme risk protection order. And the third prohibits the possession of guns within 1,000 feet of a school.

Wilson has long argued that, in almost all cases, state laws on guns take precedence in the Palmetto State, and that the regulation of firearms is beyond the reach of a city or county.

The attorney general, in court filings, has cited a section of SC law that says, “no governing body of any county, municipality, or other political subdivision in the state may enact or promulgate any regulation or 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.”

“We’ve said for three decades now that state law doesn’t allow cities, towns or counties to regulate firearms, so we appreciate the judge’s ruling,” Wilson said in a release. “These Columbia ordinances clearly violate the state law that prohibits local governments from passing any gun laws or ordinances that regulate the transfer, ownership, or possession of firearms.”

This story will be updated.