S.C. Legislation Would Ban Sale of Sex Toys

Rhett Pardon
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina could join the states of Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi and Texas with legislation that, if passed, would make it a felony to sell sex toys and novelties, either in brick-and-mortar stores or over the Internet to the state’s residents.

The bill, H 4830, would amend South Carolina’s obscenity laws to include the dissemination, procurement and promotion of sexual devices. Violators would be subject to imprisonment for up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Proposed by Republican Rep. Ralph Davenport, the bill also would allow law enforcement to seize sex toys from raided businesses.

Davenport, who is from Spartanburg County, did not return a call placed by XBIZ on Monday to talk about his bill. No other legislator has signed on as a co-sponsor.

Recent raids in Spartanburg County have targeted adult-oriented businesses.

In January, officers from the Sheriff 's Office raided three area video stores and seized several thousand adult videos and toys, supposedly to be used as evidence in the impending prosecution of four store clerks arrested during the action, including two clerks working at Priscilla’s.

Priscilla’s later sued the Sheriff Chuck Wright, claiming the raid violated constitutional rights and asked for the return of the seized items. Wright refused.

The other stores targeted in the January raid included The Movie Gallery and Pick-A-Flick, both of which are general-interest video stores with adults-only sections.

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to hear whether states can ban the sale of sex toys in last year’s challenge over Alabama legislation; however, that case is back in lower courts.

U.S. District Judge Lynwood Smith Jr. twice ruled against the law, holding that it violated the constitutional right to privacy, but the state won both times on appeal.