GOP lawmaker gets death threats for not advancing permitless carry bill in state house
State Rep. Peter McCoy (Image credit: Peter McCoy for State House)

Sometimes NRA lobbying is not the only reason Republicans have to fear defying gun rights orthodoxy.

According to the Post and Courier, South Carolina state Rep. Peter McCoy, a Republican who chairs the state House Judiciary Committee, is now under police protection after receiving a death threat on Facebook. The threat, replying to a post of Freedom Action Network of South Carolina calling McCoy the "#1 enemy of restoring our gun rights," said "Totally sucks that one guy has that much control. Maybe we should shoot him?"

McCoy's offense? He declined to advance a bill in the Judiciary Committee to implement "permitless carry," which would completely eliminate the need to obtain certification to carry a handgun in the state.

Freedom Action Network's president condemned the threat, saying "Under no circumstance do we advocate even the hint of a threat of violence," but it wasn't an isolated incident. Other comments on that same post include, "McCoy needs a 'come to Jesus talking to' and a serious one," "Get the bill passed or look at your future," and "He needs a behind the barn talking to!"

Permitless carry bills are being advanced in several GOP-controlled states, and were recently signed into law in Kentucky and South Dakota. But the death threats against McCoy seem to have blunted its momentum in South Carolina even further — the state Senate has now canceled hearings on a similar bill.

This isn't the first time pro-gun activists have metaphorically shot themselves in the foot by escalating their tactics. A similar permitless carry bill in Texas was recently scrapped after the leader an extreme gun rights group went door to door intimidating people in state House Speaker Dennis Bonnen's neighborhood.