News 12 at 11 o'clock / Monday Feb. 25, 2013
A South Carolina lawmaker is working to change weapons permit laws. (WRDW-TV)
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C (WRDW) -- It's an issue people deal with every day as they cross the state line. Concealed weapons permits that don't transfer between Georgia and South Carolina, changing the rules of where your weapon can be every time you cross the river.
Now one South Carolina lawmaker is working to change the permits and make it easier for the people who live on the border.
Seventeen states have what is called a reciprocal agreement with South Carolina, making their permits valid in that state. Georgia is the only state that touches S.C. that does not honor the permit. The same goes the other way. Georgia has reciprocal agreements with 26 states, but not South Carolina.
"It's very frustrating because you have to be very cognizant of the fact that you cannot have that weapon unless it's stored in the vehicle pursuant to South Carolina law," said Gene Staulcup, who has been a private investigator for more than 30 years.
Staulcup lives in Georgia, but his business often takes him across the state line into South Carolina. His concealed weapon permit, though, isn't welcome there.
"We have to go into a lot of dangerous areas sometimes late at night. We also serve a lot of papers for the court," Staulcup said.
He's not the only one who deals with the issue.
"You have people working in Georgia and living in South Carolina and vice versa, so it's quite a concern about a number of folks," Staulcup said.
"The water, the state line, we don't think anything of it," said South Carolina Rep. Bill Hixon.
He hears the concerns every day.
"I get that question all the time," Hixon said. "I have friends that live in Augusta and they want to get a S.C. gun permit."
Right now to get a permit in South Carolina, you must pay property taxes on real property, like a house and not a car.
Hixon says that's the first thing he's looking to change.
"If he wants to come to our state and take our test, as far as legals and shooting, he could get an out-of-state gun permit ," Hixon said. "Not require them to be a taxpayer."
A reciprocal agreement between the states is still missing.
"The reciprocal agreements to me is where the rubber meets the road," Hixon said. "South Carolina and Georgia should have something in working, and I'm gonna pursue that."
Hixon says he's working with SLED right now and will be meeting with lawmakers in Georgia as well. He says the hardest part is being the only area on a border state affected by this since sometimes it can be difficult to get lawmakers in Greenville and Columbia to understand why this is so important.
In South Carolina, if you do not have a gun permit, there are four places your gun can be in your vehicle: the glove box, the center console, a locked container or the trunk. Once you cross the bridge, the gun must be in plain sight.