South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster was asked on Thursday about the Constitutional Carry bill that’s cleared the state House, and left no doubt where he stands on the measure. Speaking to WIS-TV, McMaster said if the bill gets to his desk, he won’t hesitate to sign it into law.
“I know there’s a concern about it, but I don’t share those concerns,” he said. “I don’t think everybody’s going to run out and buy a pistol to carry it around. I think the people who will are the law-abiding citizens who know how to handle firearms, and I think the Constitution, the Second Amendment, says you have a right, and I think the legislation is right on point.”
That’s great to see, but I hope the governor is willing to apply some political pressure to Senate Republicans in order to get the legislation enacted into law. Despite the fact that Constitutional Carry sailed through the house on a 90-30 vote earlier this week, the bill faces longer odds in the state Senate, even though Republicans still hold a 30-15 majority in the upper chamber.
In fact, last year the House approved a Constitutional Carry bill as well, only to see the measure die in the Senate when it was rejected as an amendment to another piece of legislation. The Senate sponsor believes he’s picked up at least two more votes, but under his arithmetic at least one more GOP senator will need to sign on in order for the Senate to give its stamp of approval. Still, State Rep. Bobby Cox, who’s the prime sponsor of the House legislation, says he’s convinced the bill can get to the governor this time around.
So, what’s different this time around? Cox says the climate in South Carolina is now ready for constitutional carry. He noted that with citizens increasingly concerned about violent crime, they want the ability to protect themselves and their property. And he adds the political atmosphere is supportive, too.
“Unlike the rest of the country, we had a very big red wave in South Carolina (last November), and so there is an expectation and a mandate to get conservative measures through,” Cox said. “We’ve done a pretty good job so far on pro-life, anti-CRT; now we’re taking up this.The House is really sensing that and so you have a lot of vocal new members who were wanting to see these measures passed.”
“I really want us to be the twenty-sixth state,” Cox concluded. “I wish we were a pioneer in this, but twenty-five other states have done it and it hasn’t turned into the wild, wild west in those states. So I’m excited about it.”
If he wants South Carolina to be the next permitless carry state the Senate is going to have to move pretty quickly. Florida lawmakers have already cleared the way for quick floor votes on a permitless carry bill once this year’s session officially kicks off in two weeks, and a permitless carry bill is already on the floor of Nebraska’s unicameral legislature. McMaster’s announced support for the bill will hopefully spur any Republicans who are sitting on the fence to side with the Second Amendment rights of South Carolinians, but gun owners need to be talking to their senators as well if South Carolina is going to join the growing ranks of states that don’t require legal gun owners to get a permission slip from the government before exercising a fundamental right.