Final vote expected Thursday on South Carolina weapons open carry bill
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCSC/AP) - State lawmakers are expected to hold a final vote Thursday on a bill that would allow people with concealed weapons permits to openly carry their guns.
Senators voted 25-21 against the so-called constitutional carry amendment after several hours of debate on Wednesday. It would have allowed anyone who can legally own a gun to carry it anywhere the weapons are legally allowed.
Senators then continued to debate the House-passed bill that would allow anyone who passes the background check and a roughly eight-hour course to get a South Carolina concealed weapons permit to carry their pistol in the open.
Gun rights groups have made “open carry” a priority for years and put extra pressure on senators after Republicans won an extra three seats in the 2020 general election.
Opponents of the Open Carry Bill include a number of current law enforcement leaders including State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel, and police chiefs and sheriffs in some of the state’s largest areas.
South Carolina is one of only five states without some type of Open Carry law.
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Copyright 2021 WCSC. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.