By: D.J. Parten
After years of pressure from grassroots activists, lawmakers in the South Carolina State House voted to pass Constitutional Carry H. 3096.
Eleven Republicans voted against this important pro-gun legislation.
Four states have adopted Constitutional Carry laws this year, bringing the total number of Constitutional Carry states to 20.
South Carolina, with the outright ban on open carry and the state’s restrictive licensing requirement, is quickly falling behind much of the country when it comes to gun rights.
If H. 3096 becomes law, law-abiding citizens would no longer need a permit to carry a firearm in South Carolina.
It would also repeal the draconian ban on open carry, one of only five outright bans in the country.
This major step forward comes after years of pressure from grassroots activists, including Palmetto Gun Rights, and the work of pro-gun leaders, notably South Carolina State Rep. Jonathon Hill.
Rep. Hill has been on the frontlines fighting for Constitutional Carry as the bill sponsor since 2015.
Denise Snelling, Chairman of Palmetto Gun Rights, pointed out in an email to her members that 50 Republicans in the State House voted to kill Constitutional Carry just three weeks prior to the vote on H. 3096.
She then went on to explain that the pressure built up by grassroots activists in the subsequent weeks is ultimately what led lawmakers to pass this bill for the first time in history.
Clearly, all the credit goes to the dedicated people of South Carolina who kept up the pressure on their elected officials.
But Constitutional Carry isn’t law yet.
House Bill 3096 currently awaits action in the Senate, but it appears Senate Leadership would rather take up H. 3094, a bill only to legalize open carry by those with a license.
A vote is expected on the licensed open carry bill this Thursday in subcommittee. It would then need to pass the Senate Judiciary Committee before being taken up on the Senate floor.
D.J. Parten is the Executive Director of Florida Gun Rights and the Senior Regional Director for the National Association for Gun Rights.