South Carolina is set to become a “constitutional carry” state.
Governor Henry McMaster, a gun-rights advocate, said he would sign a bill that will allow law-abiding residents to carry handguns concealed without the government’s permission.
Over half the states allow permitless carry.
The Post and Courier reported that the state Senate passed a bill last week that would make concealed carry permits optional instead of mandatory. The bill also would lower the age for law-abiding residents to carry a handgun in public from 21 to 18. When this bill becomes law, handgun owners won’t be limited to storing guns in the glove compartment of their cars (which doesn’t require a permit). They can keep them on their laps in they want to.
Lawmakers in the state’s House of Representatives passed a similar bill last February. Before the legislation lands on the governor’s desk, however, it goes back to the House and may have to go to a conference committee. From the Post and Courier:
It would still be illegal to carry a weapon in gun-free zones like schools and courthouses or in a business with a gun-free placard displayed.
Police chiefs strongly oppose permitless carry, believing it would make civilians and police officers less safe. But supporters of the bill believe the public safety concerns are overblown and that expanding the rights of law-abiding gun owners is essential in a gun-friendly state.
I think we all understand how police chiefs feel about permitless carry, even if they advocate gun rights. The Second Amendment bestows an individual right to carry guns for personal protection, as the U.S. Supreme Court reiterated — and with rights come responsibility. Individuals have a huge responsibility to learn to use guns safely.
South Carolina allows law-abiding residents with a concealed carry permit to open carry. If the permitless carry bill becomes law, it looks like residents will be able to open carry with no permit as well. Most people likely opt to carry concealed in any case.
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