SC: Moving Forward on Constitutional Carry, Open Carry

Graham Secures Second Amendment For South Carolina, iStock-884217816
SC: Moving Forward on Constitutional Carry, Open Carry, iStock-884217816

U.S.A.-(AmmoLand.com)- The South Carolina legislature has two prominent bills in progress which would restore significant Second Amendment rights in the state. South Carolina is one of only five states which ban the open carry of handguns in most public spaces. The other four states are California, Florida, Illinois, and New York. Open carry in South Carolina has a majority of sponsors in the House, can likely pass the Senate, and would likely be signed by Governor Henry McMaster.  A spokesperson for Governor McMaster has said he would proudly sign the Constitutional Carry Bill. It seems likely he would sign the open carry bill. From wpde.com:

A spokesperson for Governor Henry McMaster said the governor is a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment and would proudly sign this legislation into law.

A representative for Moms Demand Action said there is also House Bill 3094, which is an open carry bill. An organization leader said it’s already through committee and eligible for a floor vote this week.

A poll shows wide public support for open carry with a permit. From myrtlebeachonline.com:

Open carrying of guns is another controversial proposed on House Republican leaders’ agenda. Law enforcement officials, including Chief Mark Keel of the State Law Enforcement Division, have serious concerns about people wearing guns openly. Polling showed 65% of S.C. voters supported open carry with a permit ‑ by political party, 77% of Republicans, 43% of Democrats.

The open carry bill, House Bill 3094, has 68 sponsors in the House, out of 124 members.

From foxcarolina.com:

Representative Micah Caskey says he believes it’s time for South Carolina to fully allow rights to its citizens and gun owners which he believes are granted by the Constitution. 

“We are one of five states that is not allowed any form of carrying pistols–short guns–so we need to get out of the company of states like New York, Illinois, and California,” Caskey, republican cosponsor of the bill from Lexington County, said. 

As someone who believes the 2nd Amendment allows for carrying without any sort of license, he calls the current bill a “compromise,” and says it adequately addressed to safety concerns.

South Carolina House Bill 3096 has a substantial number of sponsors (37) in the House.  It is not as well supported as House Bill 3094, the open carry with training bill. Even though Governor McMaster has said he would sign the bill, it is less likely to pass than the open carry bill. The reason is weak support for Constitutional Carry in the North Carolina Senate. Governor McMaster has shown support for Constitutional Carry in 2017, when he was Lt. Governor.

From thestate.com:

But what the hearing over constitutional carry offered was a preview of how far some Republican House members will try to pull the debate Wednesday when a mostly Republican-led coalition attempts to pass a bill that would allow permitted gun owners to carry publicly where guns are allowed.

“It became clear there was a substantial amount of support for constitutional carry, not only from traditional Second Amendment right advocates, but supporters of (Democratic state Rep. Justin) Bamberg’s amendment to change it to a constitutional carry bill,” said state Rep. Micah Caskey, R-Lexington. “(It) made sense to offer you an opportunity to showcase your support.”

The State article says Democrat’s support for Constitutional Carry is an attempt to stop Open Carry by slowing down the bill and/or making it less than palatable in the Senate.

State Sen. Larry Grooms, R-Berkeley, told The State while he supports constitutional carry — and has sponsored a bill in favor of it — he was not confident that it could pass the upper chamber.

There are 46 members of the South Carolina Senate. 30 of them are Republicans.

The House Republican Majority was wise to the Democrat tactic, and kept the two bills separate. They passed the open carry with training bill on 17 March 2021. From islandpacket.com:

South Carolinians could soon openly carry a handgun with a permit under a proposal passed Wednesday by the state House.

The House passed the legislation in a 82-33 vote, after attaching new requirements that outline where a trained gun owner could carry in the Palmetto State and blocking an attempt to expand the proposal even further by removing the permit requirement entirely.

Open Carry with training is likely to pass the Senate. It is not clear if there are enough votes to pass Constitutional Carry in South Carolina, at this time.

It seems likely Governor McMaster will sign either bill. He has committed to Constitutional Carry. This Correspondent has not found where he has committed to sign open carry with training.


About Dean Weingarten:

Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.

Dean Weingarten

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HLB
HLB
6 months ago

Let us keep the pressure on these somewhat uncooperative states. There is nothing wrong with open carry and you should not fear getting gas in these states on your travels. We need to remember that there are sometimes problems with long guns in your vehicle. South Carolina has those too. Nobody needs to be searching my vehicle for the AR I carry in the trunk to address long range interstate problems.
HLB

Ryben Flynn
Ryben Flynn
7 months ago

One step closer, like Texas with OC with a concealed carry permit. I have a CWP and just renewed it and only have it for travel to other States even if I could carry here with no permit.

WI Patriot
WI Patriot
7 months ago

Slowly but surely…

nightstryke
nightstryke
7 months ago

Governor McMaster is moderately pro-2A when the Corona Virus hit last year he made sure that gun stores and sporting goods stores that sold firearms stayed open and were essential businesses. If you were a sporting goods store and you didn’t sell guns? You had to close.

Say what you will about her but Nikki Haley really chose a good Lt. Governor for South Carolina and he’s stepped up to be a pretty decent Governor overall. Now if only we could get the open carry bill through first and then the Constitutional Carry bill, that would be something!

Grigori
Grigori
7 months ago
Reply to  nightstryke

Trikki Nikki was “pro-gun” to the extent that she signed pro-2A legislation which wound up on her desk, as we rightfully expected her to. She was big on photo-ops with guns as a “VIP” visiting the FN arms plant in Columbia and with a gun her “husband” bought her for Christmas. Unfortunately, she did nothing with regard to drumming up support for pro-gun bills or in any way tried to help them get momentum so they would wind up on her desk. She was a horrible Governor in every other way. Everything she does is about enhancing her personal brand,… Read more »

Darkman
Darkman
7 months ago

The Iowa legislature passed Constitutional Carry along with legislation prohibiting frivolous lawsuits against firearms,ammunition and firearms accessory companies last Wednesday. Similar Legislation goes to the Senate Floor next week. Proposed to be Wednesday with passage expected due to Republican support and unstoppable numbers. The legislation could be on the desk of the Governor who has already voiced approval by the end of the month.

Grigori
Grigori
7 months ago
Reply to  Darkman

I hope you get it all. Sounds very good!

Grigori
Grigori
7 months ago

One of our biggest enemies for gun rights and Constitutional Carry for the last five years has been House Speaker, Jay Lucas. Lyin’ Jay has on multiple occasions, promised to let Constitutional Carry bills be put on the floor for debate, at times on the last day of the session, then run the clock out and/or adjourn early, effectively killing the bill. There is good pressure on House members this year to produce, and hopefully that will change things for us. The Senate may have gained some conservatives after this past November’s elections. One county replaced a senior Democrat and… Read more »

Last edited 7 months ago by Grigori