Concealed Carry Permit Holders in South Carolina Can Now Carry Handguns Openly

Effective August 15, South Carolina residents who have concealed carry permits may openly carry their handguns. Governor Henry McMaster signed the bill into law in May but held a ceremonial signing on Friday.

The governor wrote on X that the new law also eliminates a $50 fee to obtain a concealed carry permit and lowers the number of bullets someone must fire at a target in an accuracy test from 50 to 25 shots. In South Carolina, residents who wish to carry their handguns must go through eight hours of training and pass a background check that includes fingerprinting.

It’s not “Constitutional Carry,” which requires no permit to carry openly or concealed, but South Carolina joins a number of states that have eased gun restrictions in recent years. So far, 21 states allow permit-less carry, open or concealed. Gun-rights supporters believe that the Second Amendment protects the right of citizens to own guns and carry them without government permission. They also advocate national reciprocity, in which states that allow concealed carry must recognize permits from other states.

“Owning a firearm is the protected right of every American citizen and today we join 45 other states in expanding our Second Amendment rights by allowing those with concealed weapons permits to openly carry a firearm,” the governor wrote on Twitter. “I will never support any encroachment on the rights of law-abiding citizens to own a gun and today I was proud to expand that right by signing the ‘Open Carry with Training’ Act into law.”

Private and public organizations can still decide whether they’ll allow firearms on the premises, and gun owners can’t carry open or concealed in so-called gun-free zones — law-abiding residents, that is.

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