South Carolina is Battleground for Gun Rights in Election Year

Gun rights will be a major talking point through all the campaigning for this year’s presidential election. Nowhere has that been more evident than in the battle over the Saturday’s primary in South Carolina, with plenty of venomous statements coming from the candidates.

Ted Cruz said this to ABC News on Sunday: "If Donald Trump becomes president, the Second Amendment will be written out of the Constitution, because it is abundantly clear that Donald Trump is not a conservative," according to this story from FoxNews.com.

Trump responded Wednesday by saying, "Cruz does lie. I'm the strongest person on the stage for the Second Amendment."

Jeb Bush got all kinds of attention, some good, but most bad, for tweeting a photo of a personalized pistol from the FN plant in Colombia, South Carolina this week, firing up the gun debate in the social media sphere once again.

"It was to say that I'm for the Second Amendment," Bush said in the story. "It meant nothing more than that. It was an appreciation for receiving a gun at a manufacturer that makes the guns, and a lot of jobs are created because of that."

The Fox News story says about 44 percent of South Carolina residents own guns, according to a study published in June 2015 in the journal Injury Prevention, and the state has certainly been deeply mired in the gun debate for the past year or so. We reported earlier this month that South Carolina saw near-record gun sales in 2015, with a whopping 25 percent jump since June 2015, going by NICS background checks.

Even Miss South Carolina Daja Dial couldn't escape the argument, answering a gun control question with a pro-Second Amendment stance at the most recent Miss America pageant, which had some wondering if it cost her the crown.

The story points out that the state’s eastern seaboard is populated largely by military and retired military, and that gun rights are a big part of the culture in the state’s rural communities, which certainly contributes to that 44 percent.