End To License Fees Boosts South Carolina Carry Applications

David Duprey

While the press and many Democrats have focused on the fact that under South Carolina’s new “open carry with training” law those with concealed carry permits can choose to carry either openly or concealed, another aspect of the law is having a much bigger impact in the state.

The new revisions to the state’s carry laws also scrapped the fees charged by the state for a carry license, and since the law has taken effect there’s been a surge in demand from residents eager to embrace their Second Amendment rights.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the agency responsible for processing the CWP applications, says they’re processing more applications than before August 15th – when the new laws took effect. SLED representatives say they’re averaging more than 400 applications a day.

Licensed gun safety instructors are seeing the demand for training double.

“We have seen an increase in requests for training not just CWP which we offer several times a month. We even offer weekday classes for those people,” said Sherra Scott, who co-owns Sandhill Shooting Sports in Lugoff. “I have seen an increase in women – which to me is a good thing.”

It’s a very good thing, though the surge in demand is also leading to some delays in processing applications. Right now the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division says they have a 60-day turnaround in approving applications. That’s not great, but it’s a far sight better than what’s happening in states like Illinois, where as of July the Illinois State Police are taking more than 130 days, on average, to process carry applications.

The new law in South Carolina also imposes new training requirements on those seeking a concealed carry license, but instructors like Sherra Scott say they haven’t seen many problems adding the new mandates to their classes.

“It added maybe thirty minutes to the length of my class,” said Scott. “Now, we have to talk specifically about carrying a single action only semi-automatic pistol – how you carry that safely.”

As part of the new open carry legislation SLED mandates that permit holders fire a minimum of twenty-five rounds with a licensed instructor. Permit seekers also must know how to properly secure a firearm in their holster, as well as know what to do if someone tries to take their weapon. Those are all in addition to multiple de-escalation techniques and strategies.

While I was personally hoping that South Carolina would adopt Constitutional Carry this year, I’m glad to see that the increased training mandates haven’t dissuaded residents from getting their carry license. However, even though getting rid of the licensing fees charged by the state is a step in the right direction, it’s not the last step that lawmakers should take when it comes to protecting and securing the right to keep and bear arms.

The good news is that anti-gun activists and many Democratic lawmakers have been so hyperbolic claims about the impact of the new open carry with training law that by the time next year’s session takes place Republicans in control of the statehouse will have plenty of material to highlight the fearmongering and predictions of the Wild West that never came true as reason enough to ignore their continued opposition to permitless carry legislation.

Sep 21, 2021 10:30 AM ET