SC senators pass bill allowing open gun carry with a permit
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - South Carolina senators have approved a bill allowing people with concealed weapons permits to carry their guns in the open.
The Senate voted 28-16 on Thursday on so-called open carry bill after about a dozen hours of debate over three days.
The proposal allows so-called open carry of guns for people who undergo training and background checks to carry guns hidden under a jacket or other clothing.
Senators made changes to the bill so it will head back to the House which passed it in March.
The changes include eliminating a $50 charge from t he State Law Enforcement Division to get a permit.
A 25-21 vote Wednesday in the state Senate killed the so-called constitutional carry amendment. That bill would have allowed anyone who can legally own a gun to carry it anywhere the weapons are legally allowed without first receiving a concealed weapons permit.
State Democrats have criticized the bill, claiming it makes it easy for people to intimidate others and could potentially put minority gun owners at risk if they choose to open-carry.
Republicans, meanwhile, have said the open carry bill only changes how a person can carry a firearm and protects people who have concealed weapons permits who may accidentally expose their weapon in public.
Gov. Henry McMaster has said he would sign the bill when it reaches his desk.
South Carolina is one of only five states without some type of Open Carry law. The others are California, Florida, Illinois and New York.
Copyright 2021 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.