South Carolina Senate approves open carry legislation and offers free gun training classes

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A new bill was approved by the South Carolina Senate on Thursday, granting gun owners the right to openly carry their firearms in public without the need for a concealed carry permit. Additionally, the bill also includes provisions for free firearms training for individuals who choose to exercise this right.

The bill received approval through a vote of 28-15, following almost two weeks of debate. During this time, concerns were raised by certain legislators and law enforcement officials regarding the open carry provision. However, a resolution was reached by including free firearms training, which served as a compromise and effectively resolved the debate.

The proposal has been sent back to the House for further consideration. Representatives will need to accept the Senate’s inclusion of free firearms training and other modifications in order for the bill to reach Gov. Henry McMaster’s desk.

South Carolina is on the verge of becoming the newest state to allow open carry without a permit, joining the ranks of 27 other states, including most of the Deep South.


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A new bill in Maryland aims to prohibit gun owners from carrying firearms unless they have a minimum insurance policy of $300,000. The proposed legislation seeks to ensure that responsible gun owners have adequate coverage in case of accidents or incidents involving their firearms. This requirement aims to promote safety and accountability in gun ownership, emphasizing the importance of responsible and insured gun ownership.

South Carolina senators have approved a bill with a 28-15 vote on Thursday, which permits open carry within the state. Additionally, the bill also mandates the statewide promotion of a complimentary firearms training course. (Erich Schlegel/Getty Images)

The bill’s amendments in the Senate also entail a mandatory advertising campaign across the state. This campaign aims to educate South Carolinians about the availability of free training classes for concealed weapons permits. Additionally, it seeks to inform residents that individuals above the age of 18 are permitted to openly carry firearms.

The proposed bill maintains the existing law that prohibits convicted felons from carrying guns, and it also upholds the designation of certain areas such as hospitals, schools, and the Statehouse as gun-free zones. Additionally, the bill respects the decisions of businesses to prohibit the carrying of weapons on their premises.

The bill also introduces new state penalties, where felons convicted of a crime using a gun will face a minimum sentence of five years. Furthermore, individuals convicted of carrying a gun in prohibited areas will face enhanced penalties. In addition, those found guilty of a gun crime, who have not completed the concealed weapons permit class, may face an additional three years in prison.

According to The Associated Press, Republican Senate Majority Leader Shane Massey acknowledged that the bill’s passage in the Senate would have been unlikely without the mentioned alterations. While Massey does not have an exact figure, he speculated that the state’s annual cost to conduct a minimum of two free training sessions per week in all 46 counties would amount to at least $4 million. This estimate is based on the volume of concealed weapons permits issued in South Carolina annually.

A California judge has issued a ruling which blocks a gun control law that requires background checks for ammunition purchases.

South Carolina Senator Shane Martin, a resident of Pauline, expressed his long-standing goal of passing a bill that grants legal gun owners the right to open carry. This ambition dates back to his election in 2008 (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins).

Republican Sen. Shane Martin expressed his delight as the bill successfully passed in the chamber. He emphasized that the authorization of open carry has been a longstanding objective of his ever since he was elected to his position in 2008.

“I believe that this bill won’t create as many issues as some anticipate because we must remember that criminals will always find a way to carry weapons,” stated the senator from Spartanburg County. He acknowledged that while the bill wasn’t exactly what he had hoped for, compromises were necessary in order to secure its passage.

Senator Mia McLeod, an independent who frequently aligns with Democrats, expressed her apprehension about the bill, fearing that it could transform South Carolina into a lawless frontier with no licensing requirements, insufficient training, and inadequate background checks.

South Carolina Senator Mia McLeod, I-Columbia, expressed her opposition to the bill, arguing that the implementation of open carry and other gun-related provisions would transform the state into a lawless and chaotic environment reminiscent of the “Wild, Wild West.” (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)

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Law enforcement leaders are expressing concern about individuals carrying guns without proper training or experience. They worry about the potential of encountering armed individuals at a shooting scene and not being able to distinguish between those who pose a threat and those who are genuinely trying to provide assistance.

Many Republican lawmakers initially questioned the bill because of the concerns raised by law enforcement.

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