SC House passes ‘Constitutional Carry’ gun bill

Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, explains his Constitutional carry gun bill.

COLUMBA, S.C. —The South Carolina House passed a bill Wednesday to allow anyone who can legally buy a gun to carry it without any kind of permit. It’s called Constitutional carry or permit-less carry.

Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, sponsored the bill and told the House there’s no legal reason for the state to require a concealed weapons permit. “This is not a privilege like your driver’s license, granted by the bureaucracy of the state, it is a right guaranteed in your Bill of Rights in the Constitution of the United States,” he said. “By definition of the Constitution, the 2nd Amendment right, held up by two Supreme Court decisions, gives you the ability to keep and bear arms without being permitted by the government.”

Opponents said the bill would make the state more dangerous because people with no training could be carrying guns around. They might not have any knowledge of where it’s legal and illegal to bring a concealed weapon or under what circumstances it would be legal to fire the gun. Under the bill, someone could carry a gun concealed or openly. They also criticized House Republicans for invoking cloture on the bill before it came up for debate, which limited the amount of time they could debate it.

The bill passed 64 to 46. After a routine third reading on Thursday, the bill goes to the Senate. Even supporters don’t like its chances there.