Constitutional carry bill advances in South Carolina House

Lawmakers in the South Carolina House of Representatives have approved a bill that would repeal the permit requirement to carry a concealed gun in South Carolina.

Sponsored by Republican Rep. Mike Pitts, bill H. 3930 was approved on a 3-0 vote in the House Judiciary subcommittee Thursday, the Charleston Post and Courier reports.

Similar legislation was proposed and ultimately failed last year, but this year’s version of the bill includes the option for lawful gun owners to carry openly in public. The bill will also keep the current permit system intact so people can still choose to obtain one.

“It just simply says if I can legally own and I can legally carry, then I don’t have to have a permit to do it in the state,” Pitts said of the current legislation.

The Thursday subcommittee meeting lasted all but five minutes, and the two democrats on the panel were not even in attendance for the vote.

Opponents, such as Sylvie Dessau with Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, complained the measure was advanced so swiftly that dissenting opinions could not be heard at the meeting.

“As a South Carolinian, I am dismayed that some House Judiciary subcommittee members took it upon themselves to advance a dangerous piece of legislation, which would dismantle our state’s permitting system, without hearing testimony and without all the committee members present,” said Dessau. “Simply put, this is not how our democracy works.”

House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Greg Delleny pointed to the fact that the legislative session was shortened by one month this year and says big debates are still ahead.

“We had the votes on the subcommittee and when we go to the full committee that’s where all the big work is going to happen,” said Delleny. “So I don’t see how anybody can say it was rushed through.”