As pro-gun lawmakers in South Carolina press on with their efforts to make the Palmetto State the 28th in the nation to allow lawful citizens to carry firearms for self-defense without a permit, the proposal’s future is still uncertain.
House Bill 3594, formally called the “South Carolina Constitutional Carry/Second Amendment Preservation Act of 2023,” was passed by the state Senate last week. That’s the good news. The not so good news is the Senate passed it with a number of amendments. And while the amendments aren’t necessarily bad, they do force the measure to go back before the House to consider the amended bill, putting one more roadblock in the way of passage.
One Senate amendment would lower the minimum age for those who can get a concealed carry permit from 21 to 18, which obviously isn’t a bad thing. Another amendment would increase the penalties for prohibited persons in possession of a firearm, with additional increases if carrying in the commission of a crime.
Another amendment requires the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to provide free concealed weapon permit training courses regularly throughout the state.
“The training course must be offered in every county in South Carolina at least twice per month,” the amendment states. “If demand exceeds the capacity of the training course in any county, SLED shall provide additional classes until there exists a sufficient number of classes offered at least twice a month to meet the demand for training in each respective county.”
Yet another amendment aligns punishments for carrying in prohibited places with the current concealed carry statute for a first offense, with enhanced penalties only to be used for those who are habitual offenders.
As with most constitutional, or “permitless,” carry laws, the South Carolina version doesn’t do away with the existing permitting system for those who want a permit for out-of-state carry and other purposes.
There’s still a chance that the House will concur with the amendments and the bill could still go to the governor for consideration. However, if the House doesn’t concur with the Senate amendments the legislation would likely be dead, at least for the rest of the session.
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