South Carolina Set to Be 29th State With Permitless Carry

South Carolina is expected to become the 29th state to enact a law allowing residents to carry a firearm, whether openly or concealed, without a permit.

The Republican-led state Senate on Wednesday passed the South Carolina Constitutional Carry/Second Amendment Preservation Act with a 28-18 vote, sending the bill to the desk of Republican Gov. Henry McMaster, who reportedly is expected to sign it Thursday. The GOP-led state House passed the bill Tuesday by an 86-33 vote.

A compromise was reached Tuesday after the House and Senate could not agree on several provisions of the bill, ranging from criminal penalties for those who ran afoul of the new law to who was exempt from restrictions included in the bill, reported the Post & Courier of Charleston, South Carolina. WCSC-TV reported a Senate provision that was nixed would have allowed state lawmakers to carry guns in places where the public cannot, an exemption that only judges and prosecutors have.

House leaders elected to adopt the Senate version of the bill after Senate negotiators mentioned the possibility of introducing a separate bill later this session to allow violations to be expunged after a certain period — the same way the state treats drug or traffic offenses, WCSC reported.

Anyone 18 or older would be able to legally carry a firearm in public under the compromise measure, the Post & Courier reported. Weapons will no longer need to be secured while in a vehicle, and carrying a gun openly in public will not be sufficient for police to suspect a citizen of wrongdoing.

The bill includes limits on where people can carry weapons — such as hospitals, courtrooms, government buildings, schools, polling places, or day care centers. Gun owners can carry in other places where they are given permission, such as private businesses or religious institutions.

The law increases penalties for people who illegally carry, such as felons who possess guns despite being legally barred from doing so. It also includes optional, free firearms training offered twice a month in every county and tougher penalties for people who are caught carrying where it is prohibited.

“The General Assembly has taken an important step toward closing the ‘revolving door’ for career violent criminals,” McMaster said in a statement posted on his X account. “I appreciate the hard work and determination of many in both chambers.

“This new law will provide strict increased penalties for illegal gun use and possession by criminals. Now, law enforcement, prosecutors and judges can keep career and violent criminals behind bars where they belong, where they can no longer hut innocent South Carolinians.”

On Tuesday, Louisiana became the 28th state with a permitless carry law when Republican Gov. Jeff Landry signed SB 1 into law. 

Michael Katz

Michael Katz is a Newsmax reporter with more than 30 years of experience reporting and editing on news, culture, and politics.

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