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.
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.
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.