Former South Carolina state Sen. Lee Bright (R) announced he will seek his party’s nomination for the House seat previously held by retiring Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).
Bright, who has served two terms in the South Carolina Senate, has been a long standing gun advocate, which might be a matter of concern in the wake of the Parkland massacre and national revolt against gun violence.
However, Bright is not your average gun-advocating conservative. In addition to suggesting teachers should be armed with A-15s, he also has a history of consistently disregarding LGBTQ rights.
In 2016, Bright introduced S. 1203, a bill whose purpose was to ban municipalities from setting up protections that would allow transgender people to use bathrooms. The bill also banned state buildings and schools from allowing transgender people to access sex-designated restrooms.
“Men and women sharing bathrooms in public places is just beyond me. I’ve about had enough of this. I mean, years ago we kept talking about tolerance, tolerance and tolerance and now they want men who claim to be women to be able to go into the bathroom with children,” he seethed while advocating his bill.
Bright also has ultra-conservative views on the matter of immigration. In 2014, when Bright was challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) for the Republican primary, Bright said he was in favor of “self-deportation” when asked how he would deal with undocumented immigrants in the United States.
“I’m supportive of self-deportation. And if they don’t want to leave, if they break the law, I’m for taking them out and sending them back to wherever they came from because they need to observe our laws. So if they break the law I’m in favor of us deporting. If it comes down to a situation, I’m for self-deportation. I don’t believe in rewarding people for breaking the law,” he said.
Not very shockingly, he also has a rather derogatory view of the role of women in society. In 2013, Bright sat on the visiting board of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with the core belief that “wives should forsake resistance to their husbands’ authority and grow in willing, joyful submission to their husbands’ leadership.” He was also one of only legislators to oppose funding of rape crisis centers and support Gov. Nikki Haley’s (R) controversial veto of nearly half a million dollars for rape crisis centers. Haley called the centers a distraction, benefiting only a small percentage of the population.
Adding to an already astonishing list of credentials, Bright is also — surprise, surprise — an Islamophobe. He co-sponsored a bill banning the use of “sharia law” in South Carolina even though sharia law was never imposed there.
However, the most dangerous and worrying of all the shining medallions on Bright’s resume is him being an avid advocate of gun rights. Ever since the Florida school shooting, the nation has started a movement for gun law reforms and Bright’s potential House seat could be a matter of concern for millions fighting for stricter gun laws.
In a 2013 Facebook post, Bright argued that banning guns just because that might save a life is just as absurd as banning “swimming pools and hot dogs.” He introduced legislation to exempt South Carolina-made firearms and ammunition from federal regulation. He was also one of the only six officials opposing the policy of keeping guns out of the hands of people with a history of violence due to mental illness.
In 2014, when asked if a teacher should be allowed to carry a gun, he said, “I would think a teacher protecting a school grounds should be able to carry whatever she can carry legally. The Second Amendment is pretty clear. It says the right to carry arms should not be infringed and I do not see how the government can regulate it.”
Bright, apparently very fond of using bills to prove his point, authored another one claiming “the more guns we have the safer we are.” The bill proposed training public high school students on how to shoot guns.
At a pro-gun rally in 2013, Bright proclaimed the media as his enemy. “The Second Amendment is about hunting down tyrants. The media is our enemy. The mainstream media doesn’t worship that same God we do. The media worships a God that they believe is in charge and he’s on Pennsylvania Avenue,” he boasted.
“I know the anti-gun media may hate it. I know the political talking heads may sneer as they continue blaming guns and law-abiding gun owners for the acts of thugs and madmen. But I am THE pro-gun, pro-Constitution candidate in this race for the U.S. Senate — and I can’t think of a better way to get that word out than by giving away a brand new AR-15,” he wrote in an email.
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