SC Senate Passes "Open Carry With Training"

(AP Photo/Lisa Marie Pane)

Open carry is something South Carolina gun rights activists have wanted for a while, apparently. Unfortunately, their goal of permitless open carry was dashed recently, but all isn’t lost. See, there was a chance for permissive open carry, which is just open carry with your carry permit.

It’s not ideal, but when you have no open carry, permissive open carry is better than nothing.

On Thursday, the South Carolina Senate approved a bill granting it.

South Carolina senators approved a bill Thursday allowing people with concealed weapons permits to carry their guns in the open.

The Senate voted 28-16 on Thursday on the so-called open carry bill after about a dozen hours of debate spanning three days.

The proposal allows so-called open carry of guns for people who undergo training and background checks to carry guns hidden under a jacket or other clothing.

Senators made changes to the bill. One lowered the number of bullets to 25 that someone must fire at a target in an accuracy test to get a permit. It is now 50 shots. Supporters of the amendment said the lack of ammunition recently makes it harder to find enough bullets.

Other changes included eliminating the $50 fee the State Law Enforcement Division charges to get a permit and reducing the number of days that court clerks have to report any charge or other issue that could revoke a permit to the state police to five days. It is currently 30 days.

The bill heads back to the House which passed it in March. If the members approve the Senate changes, it heads to the governor. If they don’t, then a small group of lawmakers will try to work out the differences.

Now, the good news. The good news is that South Carolinians will soon have an option to openly carry a firearm in the state. That’s a positive move forward in regaining their gun rights.

The bad news is that it’s still an infringement on their Second Amendment rights.

However, change doesn’t happen overnight. This is a move forward. It’s a springboard toward rights expansion later. When the doom and gloom some predicted doesn’t happen, it’ll be that much easier to whittle down the controls in place and restore the rights of law-abiding South Carolinians.

Plus, eliminating the fee for a permit is actually a pretty good deal. It would be better if they did away with the training requirement, of course, but not having to fork out $50 for the permit is still a good thing, as is dropping the amount of ammunition you have to shoot to qualify for your gun. Again, dropping it to zero would be better, but it’s a move in a positive direction.

By now, you can probably guess my take. Yes, this is a good thing and it should be celebrated as a good thing.

However, this should be a starting point, not the ending point. South Carolina needs to build from this and continue restoring people’s right to keep and bear arms throughout the state.

Whatever lawmakers do, don’t call this good enough, because it’s not.