Open Carry Bill Advances in South Carolina

( – South Carolina lawmakers passed the state’s Open Carry with Training Act in May 2021. The measure allowed concealed carry permit holders to open-carry handguns. However, the bill also kept intact the requirements that concealed weapon permit holders be 21 or older, receive eight hours of firearms training, provide fingerprints, and pass a background check. A recent report indicated that the state assembly is close to advancing a measure making it even easier for South Carolinians to open-carry weapons.

On March 6, Fox News published an in-depth report detailing South Carolina lawmakers’ ongoing efforts to approve a bill allowing anyone who can legally own firearms to carry them openly. Republicans have attempted to pass the measure since last year, while Democrats have consistently voted against the proposed legislation.

The latest version of the House bill included heightened penalties for individuals who repeatedly carry firearms in restricted areas like courthouses and schools. It also carried stiffer fines and other punishments for people who commit crimes while holding a gun. In a gesture to gun owners, the new bill would provide millions of dollars for free gun safety classes needed to obtain a concealed carry permit for anyone wanting to attend those training sessions.

The state House recently passed the measure 86 to 33. Most Democrats voted against the measure, while most Republicans supported the bill. A conference committee comprised of three state senators and three house members agreed to much of the language for a companion measure in the state’s upper chamber. However, pundits expect additional work on the bill’s wording to occur over the next few days.

South Carolina’s Republican Governor Henry McMaster anticipates signing the measure into law once it reaches his desk, allowing his state to join nearly 30 other states allowing gun owners to open-carry. Fox News reported that nearly every state in the Deep South already allows lawful gun owners to do so.

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