After the Senate voted to pass the legislation, every Republican House lawmaker was bombarded with text messages — some, dozens — from a mix of constituents and political action groups urging them to vote against the Senate version of the bill.
One automated text from the American Action Fund, the activist arm of Texas-based conservative group Young Americans for Liberty, described Senate Republicans as “Republicans in Name Only” who had “betrayed” South Carolina gun owners with the changes to their bill.
The group even produced door hangers for their senators’ Statehouse offices in the leadup to the vote describing members as “Second Amendment sellouts.”
“We are tired of the compromises,” Tommy Dimsdale, a lobbyist for the hardline Palmetto Gun Rights, said in a Feb. 6 video opposing the Senate version of the bill.
“We are tired of waiting, we are tired of backroom deals, and we are tired of South Carolina Republicans circling the wagons around their colleagues weakening good bills so that weaker members get to vote on them and pretend that they are pro-gun,” he added.
The NRA tried to salvage the deal. In an action alert to its members Feb. 6, they said any decision other than concurrence would likely kill the bill, and urged members to call their representatives to support a deal.
Members of the hardline House Freedom Caucus, which opposed the Senate bill, shared anonymous text messages sent to their constituents claiming they were “wavering” on legislation to support a “massive expansion of our 2nd Amendment rights,” according to images shared with The Post and Courier.
Anticipating resistance from groups like the House Freedom Caucus, Rep. Jay Kilmartin, R-Columbia, and Freedom Caucus member R.J. May, R-Lexington, told The Post and Courier that a lobbyist from the NRA met with them to say they would negatively rate any legislation that defied the Senate compromise.