Gun bill would make SC an open carry state

South Carolina gun laws could leave more people armed if a new proposed bill makes its way through the House and Senate.

An Upstate state senator has proposed a bill that would eliminate concealed carry permits and turn South Carolina into an open carry state.

Senate Bill 115 is sponsored by Republican Sen. Lee Bright from Roebuck, who held a hearing in Greenville looking to get public input.

Monday night a packed council chamber room gave Bright the input he was looking for on a bill to eliminate concealed carry permits and allow people to carry guns in the open, making South Carolina a "constitutional carry" state.

So far, Vermont, Alaska, Arizona and Wyoming are constitutional carry states.

Opinions vary on whether it's a good idea for South Carolina.

"I just think there are probably a lot of young cowboys running around, and this open carry is just a dare. I don't need to flash a gun or anything else. I just need to protect myself," A.L. Smith said.

One of the bill's numerous supporters spoke out Monday night, saying they think it is a good idea, including James Bryant, who said it works in the states that have similar laws so it could work here as well.

"I think it's a good thing," Bryant said. "There's other states that do it....I think it would work."

"It was legal in this state at one time," Bryant also said. "Once we instituted the permit system, that's when they did away with open carry. They said you have to get a permit to carry, so it's not really that big of a leap for us."

There will be a subcommittee hearing on the issue next week.

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