South Carolina Approves Gun Carry Without Permit

South Carolina is on the verge of becoming the 29th state to allow residents to carry firearms, either openly or concealed, without a permit. The Republican-led state Senate passed the South Carolina Constitutional Carry/Second Amendment Preservation Act on Wednesday with a 28-18 vote, sending the bill to the desk of Republican Governor Henry McMaster, who is expected to sign it into law on Thursday.

The bill’s passage comes after a compromise was reached between the House and Senate, which had previously disagreed on several provisions, including criminal penalties for violators and exemptions for certain groups. Under the new law, anyone 18 or older will be able to legally carry a firearm in public, with some limitations on where they can be carried, such as hospitals, courtrooms, government buildings, schools, polling places, and day care centers.

The measure also includes optional, free firearms training offered twice a month in every county and tougher penalties for those who illegally carry, such as felons who possess guns despite being legally barred from doing so. Additionally, weapons will no longer need to be secured while in a vehicle, and openly carrying a gun in public will not be sufficient cause for police to suspect a citizen of wrongdoing.

Governor McMaster praised the bill, stating, “The General Assembly has taken an important step toward closing the ‘revolving door’ for career violent criminals. 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.”

South Carolina’s move to permitless carry comes just a day after Louisiana became the 28th state to enact a similar law, with Republican Governor Jeff Landry signing SB 1 into law on Tuesday. As more states adopt permitless carry laws, the debate over gun rights and public safety continues to be a contentious issue across the nation.

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