Journalist registration bill used as comparison

Camden Metheny, Editor


Recently, South Carolina Representative Mike Pitts proposed a bill creating a registry, titled the South Carolina Responsible Journalism Registry Law, which requires journalists in the state of South Carolina to undergo a background check and purchase a license to be deemed “a responsible and competent journalist.” Such a bill would be unconstitutional, and you would think that no one outside of a totalitarian state would propose such a law, right?

The bill was proposed to essentially enrage journalists (it worked) to show a  comparison with imposing background checks on purchasing firearms. Pitts wanted to make journalists look hypocritical by attempting to violate their constitutional rights since they are so quick to call for gun control.

Taking the time to write a bill, complete with penalties and fines for not complying, just to prove a point is a little bit childish in my own opinion. So many politicians these days seem to act childish and if somebody disagrees with them, they throw a tantrum.

Look at Congress. A majority of the Congress members are Republican, with 234 out of 435 in the House and 45 out of 100 in Senate. They tend to vote against everything Obama has ever accomplished. A majority of the Republican presidential candidates have plans to dismantle all of his achievements. It makes sense for a Republican representative to draft and propose a bill violating First Amendment rights just to prove a point.

What makes me angry about this ordeal is the fact that someone thought it was a good idea to even consider placing limits on our press. Violating any Constitutional right is wrong. Whether it’s an amendment people revere or one people despise, it’s still wrong to try to violate those rights. As a journalist, I tend to have a natural bias towards the First Amendment, and someone trying to take those rights away or put limits on  them is infuriating, and I can understand where advocates against gun control are coming from.

It’s still wrong for lawmakers to try and impose limits on the First Amendment, or any amendment for that matter. Does that mean people won’t try? No. Some don’t agree with all the amendments, but those amendments guarantee our freedoms as American citizens, and we need to protect them at all costs.