In his one term in the U.S. House and his tenure in South Carolina politics, Senator-Designate Tim Scott (R-SC) has earned a reputation as one of the nation’s strongest opponents of gun restrictions. On his campaign website, the card-carrying NRA member notes his strong support of the right to bear arms and promises to fight attempts to weaken gun rights “in any way.”
Though his words and deeds, he has worked to advance an absolutist interpretation of the Second Amendment:
- Wants to prevent law enforcement from tracking purchases of multiple large guns: Scott co-sponsored legislation this year — HR 3814 — to specifically prevent gun dealers from informing law enforcement at the Department of Justice when an individual purchases multiple rifles or shotguns.
- Wants concealed-carry nearly nationwide: Scott co-sponsored a bill that would allow Americans to carry concealed firearms in nearly every state. Last year, Scott pushed the National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011, which would force nearly every state to follow other states’ concealed-carry laws. As a result, Ian Millhiser writes, “it would allow nearly anyone to shop around for the one state that is willing to issue them a license to carry a concealed firearm, and then force other states to honor that license.”
- Wants gun dealers to be able to sell across state lines: Scott co-sponsored legislation to allow gun dealers to sell weapons across state lines. Currently there are restrictions on the sale and trafficking of firearms across state lines, but Scott pushed a bill last year — the Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act — to gut those protections.
- Believes guns should be exempted from bankruptcy: Scott co-sponsored legislation last year that would allow people who declare bankruptcy to exempt up to $3,000 in weapons from their list of assessable property. In Scott’s opinion, firearms are so sacrosanct that they shouldn’t be treated like regular property.
- Called guns the “cornerstone of our democracy”: On his congressional website, Scott says that the right to own guns is a “cornerstone of our democracy.” He continues: “the federal government should never interfere with this right.”
- Wants to overrule local law and legalize weapons in DC: Scott co-sponsored a bill to take away the District of Columbia’s ability to determine for itself what its gun laws should be. This measure proposed to overrule DC’s laws, despite the city’s long history of sky-high murder and violent crime rates.
- Believes gun control is a joke. Interviewed by NRA News during the 2012 campaign, he defended South Carolina’s strong tradition of supporting the Second Amendment and endorsed Rick Perry’s “use both hands” approach to gun control. This referred back to a 2011 town hall event he hosted with Texas Gov. Perry (R), where he laughed while asking the presidential hopeful if he supported gun control. Perry jokingly responded, “I’m for gun control, use both hands.”