South Carolina Legislature Reaches Constitutional Carry Agreement

AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell

South Carolina shouldn't have had an issue passing constitutional carry. The Republican Party has firm control of the legislature and the governor's mansion. If they wanted to pass constitutional carry, there shouldn't be an issues.


At least in theory.

In reality, there were issues. South Carolina lawmakers managed to drag their feet to such a degree it wasn't clear if constitutional carry was going to happen.

Well, it is.

The House and the Senate reached an agreement to move the bill forward and onto the governor's desk.

Legislation allowing South Carolinians to openly carry handguns without a permit will likely soon head to Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk for his signature.

In what would be a substantial expansion of gun rights, anyone 18 years of age or older — regardless of whether they have a concealed weapons permit — would be able to legally carry a firearm on their person in public under the compromise measure approved March 5 by an 86-33 vote in the S.C. House.

Weapons would no longer need to be secured while in a vehicle, and simply carrying a gun openly in public would not be sufficient prerogative for a police officer to suspect a citizen of wrongdoing, under the proposal.

And while the bill still includes limits on where people can carry weapons — sensitive areas like a courtroom during session, government buildings, schools, polling places on election days or day care centers — gun owners will legally be able to carry in other places where they are given express permission to do so, like private businesses or religious institutions, that they weren’t allowed to before.

The bill now goes back to the Senate on March 6 and likely will be passed there.


Basically, there was some backroom discussions on how to adjust the bill so that they'd have the votes needed in the Senate to make it happen. The vote today is, at least hypothetically, a formality. 

Of course, that doesn't mean something can't go sideways, but it's far more likely that the vote will be had and the governor will have a constitutional carry bill on his desk.

At this point, most of the nation has some form of permitless carry on the books, with only the most anti-gun states still holding out.

I mean, we're starting to get to the point where reciprocity isn't going to be nearly as important because so many places don't need a permit at all. That's just a big win.

But the fact that this bill also makes it so carrying a gun isn't probable cause for law enforcement to suspect someone of wrongdoing is also a huge win.

The truth is that carrying a firearm is a constitutionally protected right, and especially with constitutional carry, there's really no reason to assume the mere presence of a firearm is sufficient reason to believe someone is acting criminally.


Once this is signed, assuming all goes well, this is going to be a huge win for South Carolina.

After all, we've seen the naysayers proven wrong plenty, including recent information out of Florida. We can't definitively say that constitutional carry causes a drop in violent crime, but we can pretty well shut down the argument that it'll lead to it.

So good on you, South Carolina. Welcome to the club!

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