Constitutional Carry Advances in South Carolina

Constitutional Carry is on the move in South Carolina. On March 9th, H. 3930, a passed the Judiciary Constitutional Laws Subcommittee. On 21 March, it passed the full committee by a vote of 15 to 7.  It will now advance to a vote before the full House. Last year a similar bill passed the House, but died in the Senate. From goupstate.com:

The bill by state Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, calls for what is often referred to as “constitutional carry” by allowing people who are legally permitted to own a firearm to carry one – concealed or in the open – without having to obtain a permit from the government.

A House panel sent the proposed law to the floor on a 15-7 vote Tuesday, over the concerns of several legislators – including Richland Democratic Rep. James Smith – who argued the bill has too many gray areas.

From thestate.com:

“The right to carry is a constitutional amendment in the Bill of Rights,” Pitts said. “It is a constitutionally protected right, and that’s why I don’t think the government should (issue a) permit” for the carrying of a gun.

Pitts introduced a similar bill in 2016. But this year’s bill also would allow for “open carry,” which means a person can carry a firearm without having to conceal it.

The proposal does not change where firearm owners can carry their weapons. They would still be barred from carrying into schools and other already prohibited locations. And private businesses could still bar firearms from their establishments.

Here is a relevant section of the proposed legislation. The convention is that a strikethrough indicates text to be removed. Underlined text is text that is to be added. From scstatehous.gov:

SECTION 2. Section 16-23-20 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:

“Section 16-23-20. (A) It is unlawful for anyone to carry about the person any handgun, whether concealed or not, except as follows, unless otherwise specifically prohibited by law: with the intent to use the handgun unlawfully against another person. The intent to use a handgun unlawfully against another person must not be inferred from the mere possession, carrying, or concealment of the handgun, whether it is loaded or unloaded.

Here is how it looks when the strikethru and underlining purposes are put into effect:

SECTION 2. Section 16-23-20 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:

“Section 16-23-20. (A) It is unlawful for anyone to carry about the person any handgun, whether concealed or not, , except as follows, with the intent to use the handgun unlawfully against another person. The intent to use a handgun unlawfully against another person must not be inferred from the mere possession, carrying, or concealment of the handgun, whether it is loaded or unloaded.

The requirement for an unlawful intent to prosecute the carry of a weapon is similar to Constitutional Carry law in Vermont and Arkansas. Self defense is lawful. Carrying a weapon for self defense would not be a violation of the law.

The bill has a chance of passage. If it becomes law, South Carolina would join the Constitutional Carry club, increasing the number of states with Constitutional Carry to 13.

The law would simultaneously decrease the states that routinely ban the open carry of holstered handguns from five to four, leaving only Florida, California, New York, and Illinois in that group. Florida is currently considering an open carry law, but the bill is bottled up in committee.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included. Gun Watch

comments

  1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

    SC can’t even get OC passed. I don’t see Constitutional Carry becoming law.

    1. avatar Kendahl says:

      Constitutional carry and open carry are meaningless where carry is prohibited. Getting rid of gun-free zones would do more good.

  2. avatar rc says:

    I written quite a few e-mails to Columbia on this one…here’s hoping that the SC legislature can finally get it done. I would love to wear my holstered 1911 and ditch this stupid CWP license.

  3. avatar Jamie in North Dakota says:

    Constitutional Carry easily passed the House and Senate here in North Dakota in the last couple weeks. Now we’ll see if our new Governor, Doug Burgum(R), lives up to his claim of being pro-2A during his campaign last year.

    1. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      Already signed into law!

    2. avatar Danny Griffin says:

      Although it’s for residents, only, so not truly Con Carry.

  4. avatar Vhyrus says:

    When I lived there CC had overwhelming support and it still died in committee. Not holding my breath.

  5. avatar YAR0892 says:

    Better to hope than not.

  6. avatar Adam says:

    Would be nice but SC is an old school baby boomer Republican state. They like guns…as long as they are used for hunting. Not holding my breath on this passing.

  7. avatar Mike B in WI says:

    Wait a minute. Are you sure that text is correct?
    “Section 16-23-20. (A) It is unlawful for anyone to carry about the person any handgun, …except … with the intent to use the handgun unlawfully against another person.”

    I wasn’t an English major, but I read that to say it is only lawful to carry a handgun with the intent to use it unlawfully.

    I truly hope that is a typo.

    1. Looks like someone caught it at the source. It has been changed now, and reads as expected.

      1. avatar Paul says:

        It still reads wrong on this page.

  8. avatar Parnell says:

    “The law would simultaneously decrease the states that routinely ban the open carry of holstered handguns from five to four, leaving only Florida, California, New York, and Illinois in that group.” Really? Try open carry in New Jersey. Wait, try ANY CARRY in New Jersey!

    1. If you have an permit to carry in New Jersey, you can open carry.

      It is extremely difficult to get a permit to carry in New Jersey, unless you are a judge, prosecutor, or retired police officer. I suspect that politicians can get them as well.

  9. avatar Libertarian says:

    Would nice if an rhino state is awaking

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