South Carolina Carry sent a questionnaire to all the candidates in the January 2020 election for Greenville County Sheriff. Responses are posted by us without commentary or edits. As always, we suggest you do your due diligence on candidates.
South Carolina Carry does not endorse candidates. All candidate answers are posted as we receive them.
To see all the questionnaires that have been returned to us, visit this link: https://www.southcarolinacarry.org/tag/2020greenvillesheriffcandidates/
Candidate: Sean Zukowsky
Do you support constitutional carry?
I don’t feel the current concealed carry process is intrusive to the rights of law abiding citizens and feel there is value in the basic level of training required to obtain it, but at the same time am not opposed to constitutional carry; so long as it does not alter the “prohibited persons” laws in place. If elected Sheriff, and Constitutional Carry is passed in S.C., I would work to develop training/education free of charge to law abiding citizens. The responsibility of firearms carriage and use for self defense is enormous, and I would want to arm those citizens with understanding of when they are lawfully protected in using deadly force.
Do you support open carry with a permit?
I am not a fan of open carry (with or without a permit) from a tactical/practical perspective. In my experience it requires a higher degree of proficiency (namely weapon retention as the weapon is exposed) and potentially makes a lawful citizen a target as opposed to retaining an element of tactical advantage when criminal does not know you are carrying. I understand this is a subjective opinion and if open carry becomes lawful, I hope my concerns are shown to be unwarranted.
Do you support open carry without a permit?
Same as above.
Are you in favor of gun registration?
Are you in favor of the expansion of background checks to purchase a firearm? If yes, please explain.
I support allowing access to the background check system for citizens who wish to use it for private sales they conduct, but not making it mandatory and providing appropriate safeguards so it cannot be abused.
Are you opposed to campus carry?
If we maintained the present SC concealed carry process (permitting after background check and training), I would be less concerned with campus carry. If it is allowed by SC Legislature, I believe they should consider leaving it to the individual Campus (governing board/public safety officials) to make final determination so that students can decide whether to attend a particular educational institution or not if that is important to them.
Are you a member of the Constitutional Sheriffs & Peace Officers Association?
Are you a member of the NRA?
Are you a member of any other gun-rights/2nd Amendment organizations? If so, which ones?
I am a gun owner and will protect to the best of my ability, the 2nd Amendment for all law abiding citizens.
Have you ever contributed to any gun-control organization?
Have you ever received contributions from a gun-control organization?
Would you support the confiscation of firearms under Red Flag Laws or any similar order given under the color of law?
Seizure of firearms from the group of currently prohibited persons falls “under the color of law” but it is my position this is significantly different than confiscation. I think your group considers them one in the same. My interpretation of “confiscation” in this arena is a door to door confiscation of all firearms (or a particular style of firearm) from law abiding citizens. As stated above, I am opposed to banning types of firearms and would stand opposed to this type of confiscation and feel it absolutely is unconstitutional. I am troubled by this question for several reasons and my belief that this issue underscores your position that there be no limitations on lawful access/possession of firearms other than citizens have to be at least 18 years of age (unless under parental supervision) and not incarcerated. I disagree with this and will not pander or give round about answers. Again, I recognize some people may disagree with this position, but this is one of several things that separate me from the other candidates. I’m concerned that the other candidates are not willing to articulate that there are people who should not have lawful access to firearms. One Candidate even states emphatically that the “right to bear arms will not be infringed”…that is disconcerting as a law enforcement professional and a citizen of this county because it implies that the right to firearms should not be limited to law abiding and mentally sound citizens.
The Sheriff's Office is not and will not be in the business of confiscating guns from law abiding citizens. We are in the business of providing for the safety of our citizens by arresting criminals, especially violent and dangerous ones. If those criminals are then found with firearms, then those guns will be seized. I am the only candidate with the integrity to repeat my sentiment that there are citizens among us that should not have lawful access to firearms and that includes people not mentally stable enough to possess a firearm. Let me be clear, I absolutely feel anyone making overt and verifiable threats to “become the next school shooter” or “shoot at citizens or visitors” in this County is not mentally sound and should not have lawful access to firearms. They should be charged with a crime of communicating a threat and be involuntarily committed for mental evaluation. A Red Flag law absolutely should NOT cover mere person to person accusations and MUST be paired with a criminal charge, a mental commitment or both, and provide for due process. Anything short of that, I will not support.
Even with the significant victory (yes, I consider it a victory) in the Supreme Court (2008) for 2nd Amendment rights in “D.C. Vs Heller,” the majority opinion indicated these are individual rights but they are subject to limitations. Much like the lawful and constitutional limitations on the 1st Amendment (prohibitions on libel, slander, shouting fire in a crowded theater, saying you have a bomb while in line at the TSA security checkpoint, etc), so too are such limitations on the 2nd Amendment. I do understand the theory that some feel once you start limiting a constitutional right, then we risk losing it all, but I disagree. This has been reinforced for some time now when freedom of speech has been successfully defended. A candidate running for Sheriff that states they won’t enforce any Red Flag law, in essence is saying that mentally unstable people should be lawfully protected to purchase and possess firearms, as well as convicted felons who have served their sentence. There are Red Flag laws that violate the constitution and a person’s right to due process and I will not support them. However, a law that is well thought out and deliberated by our state legislative representatives (and I believe the one currently in Legislative review could be such a law) should be given consideration. Final point; I know and concede that maintaining the prohibitive persons and implementing Emergency Risk Protection Orders to provide due process review when someone is deemed mentally unsound will not prevent that person from obtaining a firearm illegally. Regardless, I feel it irresponsible to provide legal protections to those persons in this category just based on that.