COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) – A bill that would allow lawful firearm owners to carry a handgun openly is picking up steam with days left in the legislative session.
The legislation passed the House in February. It would remove the requirement that a person must possess a concealed weapon permit in order to carry or store a firearm in certain locations.
Proponents of the legislation argue that it would allow law-abiding citizens to exercise their Constitutional rights.
“I’ve never been comfortable with the government requiring a permission slip to exercise that constitutional liberty,” said Sen. Wes Climer (R-York) during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting this week.
Critics said permitless carry would make South Carolina more dangerous.
“We are putting a loaded weapon on main street,” Sen. Marlon Kimpson (D-Charleston) said.
The committee advanced the Senate companion bill this week. Tuesday evening, the House’s bill was put on the Senate calendar, bypassing the committee process.
The legislation includes a measure that would increase penalties for illegal gun possession, this is something Governor Henry McMaster (R-South Carolina) has urged lawmakers to pass this year.
The legislative session ends Thursday at 5 p.m. Lawmakers did not pass a Sine Die resolution, which means they can be called to Columbia for a special session by the Governor.