South Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would give some people the ability to openly carry guns in the state. A measure drawing out opinions from both sides of the aisle and in communities throughout the state.
The Palmetto State is one of only five states in the country without legislation that allows open carry in some form. The current “Open Carry with Training Act” doesn’t apply to people without a concealed carry permit.
“This is an incremental step towards restoring our constitutional freedoms,” Rep. Bobby Cox (R-Greenville) said on Thursday.
Others disagreed with Cox’s assessment including Meghan Trezies, who said “Open carry with or without training is a mistake for South Carolina.”
The representative of Arm-in-Arm, a non-profit organization focused on responsible gun ownership in South Carolina went on to say, “The training aspect of this bill is an illusion. It’s a security blanket meant to make us feel better about an inherently dangerous policy. Once we make this mistake, there’s no dialing this policy back and no making it better,”
One major player lobbying for the passage of House Bill 3094 without a doubt the National Rifle Association.
D.J. Spiker, a representative for the gun rights group, told members of the subcommittee Thursday that “This is not creating the wild west. This is simply a commonsense measure bringing South Carolina in line with other states, including all of your neighbors.
“While it’s a small step, it’s a critical step and a step that’s long overdue in bringing South Carolina in line with a vast majority of the country.”
He went on to say, “What we are asking is for you to allow concealed carry holders to take off their coat.”
But many people, even some gun owners, worry this legislation will increase gun violence and put a heavy burden on business owners.
There are currently four other bills related to the topic being considered by S.C. house and senate members.