Constitutional Carry Bill Approved by South Carolina Legislature

Final Hurdle: South Carolina's Constitutional Carry Bill set for governor's approval

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Constitutional Carry Bill Approved 

The South Carolina Senate and House of Representatives have passed the Constitutional Carry Bill, which now awaits the Governor’s signature. The bill, passed by the Senate with a vote of 28-18 and by the House with an 86-33 vote, proposes significant changes to gun ownership laws in the state.

Under the proposed legislation, any individual legally allowed to own a gun in South Carolina can carry one in public without the need for a permit or training. This means that adults aged 18 and older will be permitted to openly carry loaded handguns in public spaces.

However, certain places will remain off-limits for firearms, including schools, courthouses, government buildings, polling places on election day, daycare centers, and bars. Those found guilty of knowingly carrying a firearm into an establishment that sells alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption may face misdemeanor charges, with fines of up to two thousand dollars or imprisonment for up to two years. Additionally, individuals holding a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) may risk a five-year revocation if convicted under this provision.

Private businesses and churches will have the discretion to permit or prohibit open carry on their premises. Moreover, the bill mandates the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) to issue CWPs to applicants seeking to carry concealed firearms in the state. Applicants must demonstrate proof of training, which the legislation aims to promote through the Constitutional Carry initiative.

To encourage responsible gun ownership, the bill includes provisions for free concealed weapons training offered by SLED. This training will be available twice a month in every county across the state.

The legislation also imposes stricter penalties on individuals caught carrying firearms in prohibited areas without a permit. Offenders who repeatedly violate open carry laws may face escalating penalties, including felony charges and imprisonment for up to five years upon a third conviction.

Furthermore, the bill addresses the issue of illegal firearm possession by enhancing penalties for felons found in possession of firearms, despite legal restrictions.

With its passage in the South Carolina Legislature, the Constitutional Carry Bill now awaits the Governor’s approval before becoming law.

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