South Carolina Permitless Carry Closer to Reality

by Tommy Grant

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In a notable turn of events, South Carolina is inching closer to implementing a law that would enable residents to carry guns openly without a permit, a discussion that seemed to have hit a standstill but is now actively progressing in the state legislature. This movement comes after a decisive vote in the state House, marking a pivotal step forward for the permitless carry bill.

The proposed legislation is designed to allow any individual who is legally eligible to possess a firearm the right to carry it openly. Alongside expanding gun rights, the bill aims to introduce tougher penalties for those who repeatedly violate gun-free zone regulations, such as carrying firearms into schools or courthouses, or who commit crimes while armed. Additionally, the bill proposes allocating significant funding towards offering free gun safety training statewide for anyone who wants it, aiming to ensure responsible gun ownership among citizens seeking a concealed weapons permit.

In a recent session, the House demonstrated strong support for the bill, with an 86-33 vote predominantly split along party lines; the majority of Republicans voted in favor, while Democrats largely opposed the measure. (What’s new?!?) Simultaneously, the Senate engaged in discussions regarding the bill, albeit delaying a final vote to address amendments related to the judicial election process.

Anticipation is building around the governor’s office, with expectations high that the bill will be signed into law. This move would align South Carolina with nearly 30 other states that have already adopted similar permitless open carry policies, consolidating the trend across much of the South. Lousiana’s Gov. Jeff Landry signed a permitless carry bill into law Tuesday making that state the 28th state. If passed and signed, South Carolina would become the 29th state to pass such a law for its citizens.

The journey of the permitless carry bill through the legislature has not been without its challenges. The House and Senate have each passed differing versions of the legislation this year, sparking debate particularly around the inclusion of penalties for those who bypass the proposed training yet are found guilty of carrying guns in prohibited areas.

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