South Carolina may soon have permitless gun carry

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WBTW) — Gun owners in the Palmetto State may soon be able to carry a firearm in public without licensing or training.

Bill H.359, or the constitutional carry bill, passed in the South Carolina Senate 28-15. The bill must now pass in the House of Representatives to be approved by Gov. Henry McMaster for the bill to go into effect.

Currently in South Carolina, for a person to carry a gun publicly, they must have a concealed weapon permit which involves training.

The constitutional carry bill would bypass the concealed weapon training and will allow law-abiding gun owners, open or concealed, to carry weapons publicly without a government permit.

McMaster said in a statement Thursday that South Carolina took a huge step toward closing the “revolving door” on career repeat criminals.

“Stricter increased penalties for repeat illegal gun use and possession will keep these criminals behind bars instead of shooting up our streets with impunity,” McMaster said. “It was a collaborative and cooperative effort by the Senate. My hope is that the House will concur with their improvements and send it to my desk immediately so we can begin saving lives.”

The National Association for Gun Rights and its South Carolina affiliate, Palmetto Gun Rights, delivered 60,000 petitions urging passage with no anti-gun amendments to weaken the bill.

“The South Carolina legislature has an opportunity to correct decades of wrongs,” said Tommy Dimsdale, executive director of Palmetto Gun Rights. “South Carolina is one of two Republican states that don’t recognize your right to carry a firearm without a government permission slip. That is why we are urging Senators to pass H. 3594 with no weakening amendments.”

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Taylor Ford is a digital journalist for News13. She joined the News13 team in January 2023. Taylor is a Florence native and covers the Pee Dee out of News13’s Florence Bureau. Read more of Taylor’s work here.

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