South Carolina lawmakers introduce bill to begin secession debate

South Carolina debated seceding from the Union more than 150 years ago, one of the opening salvos of the Civil War. Now, the topic has come up again, amid a national debate over firearms and gun rights. A trio of state House Republicans on Thursday quietly introduced a bill that would allow lawmakers to debate seceding from the U.S. “if the federal government confiscates legally purchased firearms in this State.” Rep. Mike Pitts, the measure’s chief sponsor, acknowledged Friday in an interview with The Associated Press that the bill has no chance of passage this year but pledged to continue to raise the issue based on what he described as a defense of the Bill of Rights. “Without a Bill of Rights, our nation is not what it is,” Pitts said. “I see a lot of stuff where people even talk about totally repealing the Second Amendment, which separates us from the entire rest of the world.” Pitts, an ardent supporter of gun rights, said he had been mulling such a proposal for a while and felt it was necessary to bring the bill forward. He said he wasn’t spurred by recent comments by retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who recently wrote in an op-ed that a repeal of the Second Amendment “would be simple and would do more to weaken the N.R.A.’s ability to stymie legislative debate and block constructive gun control legislation than any other available option.” South Carolina was the first state to secede from the Union before the Civil War…

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