Columbia, S.C. | March 21, 2013 | Joshua Cook | Yesterday the SC Senate subcommittee passed the Constitutional Carry Bill S115 as amended. Last year a similar bill died in a senate subcommittee. This year the subcommittee decided to conduct a listening tour via public hearings throughout the state. Thousands of citizens came out in support for S115 and signed petitions requesting that their rights be restored to keep and bear arms the way the 2nd amendment intended. All 5 senators, Senators C. Bradley Hutto (D), Lee Bright (R), Shane Martin (R), Greg Hembree (R), and Gerald Malloy (D) voted to give the bill a favorable report to pass it to the full committee for a vote.
More amendments will be discussed in full committee such as “where” CWP holders and “open carriers” will be allowed to carry their firearms. But many gun-rights activists feel that this was a win for them and positive momentum in the right direction.
South Carolina is one of only six states that does not allow the open carrying of firearms. Many do not understand how such a “red state” like SC can have strict gun laws. Some have claimed that these restrictions are remnants from Jim Crow Laws that tried to limit blacks from gun ownership and their right to carry by making it too expensive and too difficult for minorities to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. But many SC citizens throughout the state are getting involved and demanding government to restore their rights.
Texas has a similar open carry bill in their legislation and Oklahoma recently passed an open carry law for their state. Many activists cite a correlation of low violent crime rates to open carry laws.
The groups who have opposed this bill are lobbyist from Sheriff Associations, activists backed by George Soros, and other outside organizations such as Moms Demand Action, but the vast majority of SC citizens have come out in support of this bill. The Constitutional carry bill essentially strikes down the requirement for gun owners to purchase a training class and pay a fee to obtain a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP).
Sen. Shane Martin said,
Government has taken away what never should have been taken away, that’s the point of this bill…
Here are some highlights from yesterday’s hearing:
Talbert Black from Campaign for Liberty cleared up the confusion how the bill if passed would effect CWP holders.