South Carolina Has Chance to Pass Open Carry Law
Article first appeared on Ammoland.com
U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- There are only five states which currently ban the open carry of handguns in most public areas, most of the time. They are: Illinois, New York, California, Florida, and South Carolina. New Jersey and Hawaii ban open carry in practice, but legally, anyone with a permit can open carry. It is just extremely difficult to obtain a permit.
South Carolina is moving toward restoring the right to openly carry handguns in public with House Bill 3094, labeled “Open Carry with Training”.
The bill is reasonably easy to read and understand. From scstatehouse.gov:
TO AMEND SECTION 23-31-210, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO THE ISSUANCE OF CONCEALED WEAPON PERMITS, SO AS TO ENACT THE “OPEN CARRY WITH TRAINING ACT” BY REVISING THE DEFINITION OF THE TERM “CONCEALABLE WEAPON” TO ALLOW A PERMIT HOLDER TO CARRY A CONCEALABLE WEAPON OPENLY ON HIS PERSON; AND TO AMEND SECTION 16-23-20, RELATING TO THE CARRYING OF A HANDGUN, SO AS TO PROVIDE A PERSON WHO POSSESSES A CONCEALED WEAPON PERMIT MAY CARRY IT OPENLY ON OR ABOUT HIS PERSON IN A VEHICLE.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. This act may be cited as the “Open Carry With Training Act”.
SECTION 2. Section 23-31-210(5) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
“(5) ‘Concealable weapon’ means a firearm having a length of less than twelve inches measured along its greatest dimension that must may be carried openly on one’s person or in a manner that is hidden from public view in normal wear of clothing except when needed for self-defense, defense of others, and the protection of real or personal property.”
SECTION 3. Section 16-23-20(9) of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
“(9) a person in a vehicle if the handgun is:
(a) secured in a closed glove compartment, closed console, closed trunk, or in a closed container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the luggage compartment of the vehicle; however, this item is not violated if the glove compartment, console, or trunk is opened in the presence of a law enforcement officer for the sole purpose of retrieving a driver’s license, registration, or proof of insurance. If the person has been issued a concealed weapon permit pursuant to Article 4, Chapter 31, Title 23, then the person also may secure his weapon under a seat in a vehicle, or in any open or closed storage compartment within the vehicle’s passenger compartment; or
(b) carried openly or concealed on or about his person, and he has a valid concealed weapons permit pursuant to the provisions of Article 4, Chapter 31, Title 23;”
SECTION 4. This act takes effect sixty days after approval by the Governor.
On Wednesday, 10 February 2021, the South Carolina House Judiciary Committee General Laws Subcommittee passed the bill to the Judiciary Committee for debate. The open carry bill will almost certainly pass the House. From thestate3.com:
In a 3-1 vote down party lines, House members sent the bill to the full House Judiciary Committee, giving the bill its first step to becoming law despite concerns from some in law enforcement. Lawmakers spent two days taking testimony from groups and residents on the bill.
From Ballotpedia, of 124 members of the House, 81 are Republicans, and 43 are Democrats.
Sixty-eight members of the House have signed on as sponsors of the bill. The sponsors are already a majority in the House. They are listed below.
B. Cox, White, Lucas, Burns, Jones, Allison, Caskey, Chumley, Collins, Crawford, Daning, Davis, Elliott, Erickson, Felder, Forrest, Fry, Gagnon, Gatch, Gilliam, Haddon, Hardee, Hewitt, Hiott, Hixon, Huggins, Jordan, Kimmons, Ligon, Long, Magnuson, McCravy, Morgan, Murphy, B. Newton, W. Newton, Nutt, Oremus, Pope, Sandifer, Simrill, G.M. Smith, G.R. Smith, M.M. Smith, Stringer, Taylor, Thayer, Trantham, West, Whitmire, Willis, Wooten, Yow, Robinson, McGarry, Bryant, V.S. Moss, T. Moore, McCabe, Hosey, W. Cox, Bailey, Lowe, Atkinson, J.E. Johnson, Brittain, Bennett , and Hyde .
Both House Majority Leader Gary Simrill and Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey say they support the bill, labeled as “Open Carry with Training”.
House Majority Leader Gary Simrill, R-Rock Hill, and Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey, R-Edgefield, are both on board with the bill, giving it a good chance of passing through both Republican-dominated chambers and making it to Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk.
Simrill said it is a “near certitude” that the bill passes out of the House. Massey said he expects the main issue in the Senate will be fitting it onto a busy calendar, but he believes it is possible they will be able to get it through before the session ends in May.
There are 46 members of the Senate. 30 are Republicans and 16 are Democrats.
The critical question is whether the South Carolina Senate leadership will allow the bill to be scheduled for debate and votes.
Senate members’ biographies and links to emails and phone numbers are available here.
The open carry of handguns in public is one of the most obvious of Second Amendment rights. How is one to bear arms, if not to carry them in public?
The bearing of arms on private property is almost never in question, as the banning of arms on private property has always been up to the property owner.
The government would be stepping on private property owners’ rights to allow (or ban) the carry of arms on private property if it banned them on private property without the consent of the owner.
Logically, that would be forbidden to the government by the 10th Amendment and the Second Amendment.
The bearing of arms in public is not only protected by the Second Amendment. As strong, symbolic, political speech, it is protected by the First Amendment.
Both rights are under attack by the current powers in the Federal government.
Early attacks on Second Amendment rights claimed concealed arms could be banned because only criminals would wish to conceal their weapons.
The Second Amendment does not differentiate between private property and public areas. Protection of the right to bear arms in public areas would reasonably be what was considered most protected by the original text and context of the Second Amendment. The right to bear arms on private property is also protected by the Fourth, Sixth, and Tenth Amendments.
Many Second Amendment supporters in South Carolina would like to pass Constitutional Carry instead of Open Carry with Training.
Open Carry with Training is an incremental step toward Constitutional Carry if the votes are not available to pass Constitutional Carry.
The difficulty for Second Amendment supporters is to avoid allowing their opponents to use a loss on Constitutional Carry as a tool to prevent Open Carry with Training from passing, thus preventing any incremental gains in restoring Second Amendment rights.
There is a folk saying: Don’t allow perfect to be the enemy of the good.
The considerable benefit comes from reducing the number of states banning open carry from 5 to 4.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.