Friday, February 02, 2024

Constitutional Carry on the Move in South Carolina (2024)

South Carolina State House, Christmas 2006, Brandon Davis, public domain, cropped and scaled by Dean Weingarten

South Carolina is moving closer to joining the 27 states which have restored Constitutional (permitless) Carry.  In all 27 states, the vast majority of adults are able to carry loaded handguns in most public places without asking the government for permission to do so.

Florida permitless carry law does not allow for general open carry. Some of the 27 states have some places where carry with a permit is allowed, and carry without a permit is not.

In Arizona, a person with a permit can carry in a place which serves alcohol, as long as they do not drink alcohol, and keep their weapon concealed. People who open carry in Arizona are not allowed to open carry in a bar.  Other states have other minor restrictions.

South Carolina legislators have been working to restore Constitutional Carry for a decade. The current bill H. 3594, passed the House in 2023, 90 -30Senator Shane Martin has been pushing hard to restore Constitutional Carry.  Senator Martin was instrumental in getting the bill out of the Senate committee. It will be voted on in the South Carolina Senate in 2024. From

This effort, to make South Carolina the 28th state to enact “permitless carry” or “constitutional carry,” would allow adults to openly carry loaded weapons without needing any training or a permit.

Senators began debate on the bill this week.

“That’s what people want the right to do: They want the right to exercise their Second Amendment rights without the infringement on government,” Sen. Shane Martin, R-Spartanburg and a longtime proponent of the measure, said.

The South Carolina Senate has a filibuster. It takes 60% of the vote in the senate to stop debate. On January 24, 2024, enough senators voted to stop debate, and start it again on January 30, 2024. It is not entirely clear if this indicates 27 senators would stop a filibuster. In an editorial in the Post and Courier, the writer, horrified by the bill, claimed the vote overcame one of the "highest hurdles" to the bill's passage. From the Post and Courier, a far left outlet:

And on Tuesday, the bill cleared one of its highest hurdles when senators voted 27-17 to leapfrog it over important legislation and launch right into debate.

Among those who voted against H. 3594 were three Republicans, all who have opposed Constitutional Carry in the past. They were Shane A. Massie (R), district 25, president of the Senate; Luke Rankin (R) district 33, who has previously kept the bill bottled in his committee; and George Campsen (R) district 43.

All 27 senators who voted for the bill were Republicans.  All 46 senate seats are up for election in 2024. All Democrats and Independents voted against the bill. In 2023, Governor McMaster said he would sign H 3594 if it passes:

If the bill passes the Senate and gets to his desk, McMaster said he intends to sign it.

“I know there’s a concern about it, but I don’t share those concerns,” he said. “I don’t think everybody’s going to run out and buy a pistol to carry it around. I think the people who will are the law-abiding citizens who know how to handle firearms, and I think the Constitution, the Second Amendment, says you have a right, and I think the legislation is right on point.”

If South Carolina passes Constitutional Carry (permitless), the next state most likely to pass the reform is Louisiana.


©2023 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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