For gun rights advocates in South Carolina, one of their big goals was to bring open carry into the state. Oddly, they were one of only two Southern states not to have some degree of open carry, so I can see why that was a goal for gun rights groups.
However, their first effort didn’t work out so well. Permitless open carry was a bridge too far for too many lawmakers. However, permissive open carry wasn’t.
The bill passed the legislature, and now it’s been signed into law.
Now, I know the goal here was to get open carry. I get why South Carolina gun rights groups were pushing for that, even though I’m not a fan of open carry myself. That’s still the big goal and I hope they and a lot of other states can get permitless open carry soon.
However, I can’t help but think the changes to the permitting process might be the biggest win of the legislative session.
First, reducing the amount of fire during qualification is helpful since we’re in an ammunition shortage. Ideally, I’d like that done away with entirely, but when this doesn’t produce problems, it’ll be easier to reduce it still further until it disappears entirely.
Second, though most importantly in my mind, is the elimination of permitting fees.
That’s right. A South Carolina permit will be free in 90 days.
Granted, that’s muffled a bit because you still have to pay for a training class, but a free permit is probably something too few gun rights groups are pushing for, and it actually makes sense. It’s one thing to require a permit to exercise a constitutionally protected right, but another to charge what some of these states actually charge. While $50 may not be much for many of us, it’s a lot of money to some folks, so this is a big win.
Plus, you know, that whole open carry thing.
No, it’s not permitless open carry, but it’s hard for some people to wrap their head around no open carry to permitless open carry. Going to permissive open carry is a step. The key, though, is to make sure it’s only a first step.
We didn’t lose our gun rights overnight. We won’t get them back overnight, either. Let’s take our wins for what they are and press forward.