South Carolina Becomes 29th State to Allow Carryin

Gun Rights

South Carolina is now the 29th state to legalize carrying a firearm without a permit, so-called “constitutional carry.”

On Thursday, March 7, 2024, Gov. Henry McMaster signed H 3594 into law.

The new law eliminates the requirement for a concealed weapons permit, sets the minimum age to receive a license to 18, and sets a comprehensive list of “sensitive areas” in which guns are prohibited.

The list includes schools, government buildings, health care facilities, places of worship, law enforcement centers, and any place prohibited by federal law.

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It leaves the current permitting process in place for those who wish to get a permit to carry in states that recognize South Carolina’s license. South Carolina’s concealed carry permit law requires eight hours of training. The new law does away with that requirement but strongly encourages citizens to get firearms training.

The new law also sets steeper penalties for those convicted of carrying a gun in a sensitive area without a permit as an incentive to get licensed.

Gov. Henry McMaster released a statement celebrating the new law.

“This bill expands the Second Amendment rights of our law-abiding citizens and will keep violent criminals behind bars with increased penalties for illegal gun use and possession,” Mr. McMasters’ statement reads.

Supporters of the measure say the proposed law enables South Carolinians to finally exercise their Second Amendment right.

Gun rights advocates hailed the new law as another step toward fully restoring Americans’ Constitutional rights.

“We’re excited that South Carolina Finally did the right thing. We’re grateful to see the expansion of Second Amendment rights,” Chris Stone, state and local affairs director for Gun Owners of America, told The Epoch Times.

The National Rifle Association also weighed in on the development.

“The NRA celebrates another significant milestone as South Carolina becomes the 29th state to enact the landmark NRA-backed Constitutional Carry legislation. This pivotal move ensures South Carolinians are no longer required to obtain permission to defend themselves and their families, reinforcing the fundamental right to self-defense,” Randy Kozuch, the executive director of the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, wrote in an email to The Epoch Times.

Everytown for Gun Safety, which the South Carolina Chapter of Moms Demand Action is affiliated with, did not respond to an email seeking comment. The group has opposed this and similar legislation in the past.

Dan Roberts, outreach director and media liaison for South Carolina Carry, said he has been working with other South Carolinians to institute Constitutional Carry in the state for 10 years.

“It’s been quite a slog,” he told The Epoch Times.

Mr. Roberts said that he is pleased with the bill overall, though there are some parts he would change if he could. He said he doesn’t see why a person who carries a gun into a sensitive area without a license should face a stiffer penalty than someone who has a permit.

And, while the law does away with the training requirement, the permitting process still mandates eight hours of training. Mr. Roberts said that both provisions should be changed to provide incentives for training. He said it would be more effective to offer tax breaks for the purchase of gun safes or allow carry in certain sensitive areas for those who receive training.

“If you incentivize it, that’s the way you motivate people to get the training,” Mr. Roberts said.

Focus On the Good

Still, he said that in his political career, he has learned one valuable lesson.

“Never let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” he said.

South Carolina State Sen. Rex Rice was an early proponent of the legislation. He also favors the training element of the law. He strongly encourages even those who choose not to get a license to get some training if they are going to carry a gun.

“You need to be proficient with the weapon you’re carrying, and you need to know what the law says,” Mr. Rice said.

Mr. Rice said that many of his constituents supported Constitutional Carry because they don’t trust the government. He said they are concerned their personal information would be used to compile a registry of gun owners.

“People don’t want to give the government their information,” he told The Epoch Times.

Mr. Roberts said the new law is more than just an expansion of gun rights. He pointed out that a majority of states have expanded gun rights. In an election year, it would do federal incumbents well to pay attention to the message he believes is being sent by state legislatures: Gun control as crime prevention is not working.

“People are tired of being demonized, villainized, and scapegoated for the criminal acts of people that they had nothing to do with,” Mr. Roberts said.

From The Epoch Times

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