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South Carolina State Laws on Flag Burning, Desecration, Abuse


South Carolina: The state criminalizes "desecration or mutilation" of the American, state, and Confederate flags and doesn't allow anyone to "publicly mutilate, deface, defile, defy, jeer at, trample upon or cast contempt, either by word or act." Desecration and mutilation includes putting any "word, inscription, figure, mark, picture, design, device, symbol, name, characters, drawing, notice or advertisement" on the flags.

A "flag" includes "any flag, standard, color or ensign or any picture or representation made of any substance or represented on any substance and of any size, evidently purporting to be of the flag, standard, color or ensign of the United States, the Confederate States of America or this State, or a picture or representation upon which shall be shown the colors, the stars and the stripes, in any number or either thereof or by which the person seeing such picture or representation without deliberation may believe it to represent the flag, colors, standard or ensign of the United States, the Confederate States of America or this State."

Penalty: Imprisonment for up 30 days and a fine up to $100.

Source: 16-17-210 - 230

In addition to being one of the few states to protect the Confederate flag as strictly as it protects the American and state flags, South Carolina is also one of the few states to protect these flags from "words" - including not just words that cast contempt on them, but also just "jeer at" or "defy" them. So you can't "jeer at" the Confederate flag, expressing perhaps your loathing for the slave nation it represented. If you do, you're guilty of the same crime as someone who burns an American flag as a way to protest the current government.


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