An Open Letter to Chairman Horton, Spartanburg County Council

Dear Chairman Horton:

At the Monday County Council meeting I was scheduled to be the fourth public speaker. Disregarding Spartanburg County Council Rules of Procedure 5-1.1, you avoided my name on the agenda. Rather than listen to a speaker with the professional training to answer the claim of ‘no legal means to address gun-fire,’ you chose to break parliamentary procedure, ignore the First Amendment, and make a farce of participatory government.

Our form of government, our Constitution, and our inalienable rights ought to mean more to you. Your desire to avoid the discomfort of dissenters should not lead you to disenfranchise the First Amendment and reject rights fundamental to our scheme of ordered liberty. These are your rights too, and one day you may find yourself in need of them. The people of Spartanburg deserve better from you Chairman Horton.

Unfortunately, this is not the first time your Council has been called to task for not allowing speakers. In 2012 you began following your own rules by including the 30 minute public comment period during Council meetings, and you asked those that forced your hand “how much more responsive can we be?” How about calling the speakers in the order they signed up? We could recruit practically any 5th grader in Spartanburg County to do it competently.

Spartanburg County Gun Ordinance


On 6/15/15 at 5:30 in the afternoon the Spartanburg County Council will hold a meeting to begin work on a county wide gun ordinance. The stated purpose of the ordinance is to stop the discharging of firearms on lands within the county. In the name of safety, the county intends to prevent people from practicing safe shooting on their own property. (See the Herald Journal Article here.)

This ordinance, if passed, would remove a right from the bundle of rights that all landowners in the unincorporated county of Spartanburg enjoy. It would infringe the right to own and bear arms by preventing, or hampering, the practice with firearms.

Fortunately, this is the very beginning of the process and the County Council is looking for citizen input. If you live or work in Spartanburg come out and make your voice heard. If you like, you can volunteer for the citizen committee the Council is forming to examine this proposal.

Anyone can speak to the Council for three minutes next Monday night (6/15/15). To sign up, call Debbie Ziegler at 864-596-2528 and request to be a speaker for the 6/15/15 meeting. The meeting will be held at 5:30 pm in downtown Spartanburg at the Government building on Church St. across from the Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium and next to the Krispy Kreme.

Take the time to get involved, and encourage your friends in Spartanburg to do the same.

The National Firearms Act (NFA) and You

It is a commonly held misconception that silencers, machine guns, and other firearms are outright illegal in the United States. In reality, practically all weapons, with the exception of machine guns manufactured after May of 1986, can be owned in the US if the proper paperwork is filed and the item registered with the US Government.

The National Firearms Act, commonly known as the NFA, is the federal law governing the ownership of firearms such as silencers, short-barreled rifles, short-barreled shotguns, destructive devices, machine guns, and any-other weapons. While the category AOW, any-other weapons, appears to be a catch all for common firearms, the act specifically excludes common pistols, rifles, and shotguns owned by most shooters.

The 1934 act was the Roosevelt administrations response to the rampant mafia violence associated with prohibition. The act was designed as a confiscatory tax on weapons commonly used by the mafia, specifically short-barreled long guns and machine guns. The transfer tax, set in 1934 at $200 dollars, was several times the cost of even the most expensive machine gun of the day.

Seventy some years later, the transfer tax remains the same, but the effects of inflation have eroded its confiscatory nature. Individuals, and entities such as a trust, may purchase and own items regulated by the NFA. Many shooters today are enjoying the hearing saving benefits of a suppressor or the thrill of a machine gun.

For more information on acquiring and using NFA controlled items in South Carolina, contact a NFA dealer in your area, or contact me directly. I work with several NFA dealers in South Carolina and can help residents establish a trust for NFA Firearms and fully enjoy the benefit of these items with few hassles.

Robert Merting