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Constitutional Carry Bill Introduced In the South Carolina House – H.B. 3700
H.B. 3700, the “South Carolina Constitutional Carry Act of 2017”, filed by Rep. Jonathan Hill, proposes one of the most dramatic changes to South Carolina law of the bills introduced thus far in this legislative session.
South Carolina currently makes it unlawful for any person to carry a handgun, whether concealed or not, subject to a number of exceptions. See, § 16-23-20.
H.B. 3700 would add the following exception to the current list of sixteen:
“(17) a person who is not prohibited from possessing firearms under state law, whether or not the person is a resident of the State.”
This is a very broad exception that changes existing South Carolina law by allowing permitless carry and by implication, open carry.
Concealed Weapons Permits
Note that the bill leaves in place the current exception for concealed weapons permit holders (§ 16-23-20(12)). For purposes of concealed carry in other States, most individuals that choose to carry would still want to obtain a permit. Nonetheless, in South Carolina, a permit would not be required to carry a handgun under the new provision.
The bill eliminates the requirement that permit holders notify law enforcement that they have a CWP and are carrying a handgun as is presently required when asked for identification.
Also, the bill adds a requirement that SLED recognize any permit held by a citizen of another State.
(N)(1) Valid out-of-state permits to carry concealable weapons held by a resident of a reciprocal another must be honored by this State, provided, that the reciprocal state requires an applicant to successfully pass a criminal background check and a course in firearm training and safety.
By essentially granting national reciprocity this provision would expand South Carolina permit holders’ carry rights in other States.
Unless “otherwise prohibited by law”, the exceptions contained in § 16-23-20 trump the general rule that one may not carry a handgun “whether concealed or not”. The new (17) noted above overrides the general rule in favor of anyone, whether resident of not, so long as not prohibited from possessing firearms (e.g., a felon).
Thus, the new provision elevates the carry rights of the civilian in our State to open or concealed carry. Granted, other Code provisions limit that right, such as on school grounds, public buildings, etc. The new default rule, however, would be that open or concealed carry is legal.
Banned Carry Locations
The bill preserves the right of property owners to ban carry, providing that:
“(B) Unless a person first obtains authorization to possess a handgun from a person with the apparent authority to grant it, nothing in subsection (A)(17) authorizes carrying of a handgun into any location prohibited under Section 23-31-215(M).”
The bill would add handguns to the exceptions in Section 16-23-460’s prohibition forbidding “carrying a deadly weapon usually used for the infliction of personal injury concealed about his person . . .” As amended, the statute would read:
“(C) The provisions of this section also do not apply to handguns, rifles, shotguns, dirks, slingshots, metal knuckles, knives, or razors unless they are used with the intent to commit a crime or in furtherance of a crime.”
Likewise, any person permitted by (A)(17) could carry a handgun in an automobile in permissible locations, not just CWP holders as under current law.
The South Carolina House has been favorable to expanding carry rights in the past and will likely support this bill if constituents make their support for the bill clear to lawmakers. At present the bill has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
The Judiciary Committee is chaired by Representative F. Gregory “Greg” Delleney, Jr. His contact information may be found here:
Other members of the House Judiciary Committee are listed here:
Assuming the bill passes in the House, it will have to garner enough support to pass in the Senate which has been difficult for such proposals in the past. Aside from the usual opponents of carry rights, the bill will also have to compete for attention at a time when other issues are pressing such as solutions to fix the road problems in South Carolina. Though not impossible, it will take sustained and widespread grassroots support to see this bill to enactment.
Since the introduction of H.B. 3700, Senator Martin filed S. 449 in the South Carolina Senate which is also called “The South Carolina Constitutional Carry Act of 2017”. The provisions of this bill differ from H.B. 3700. S. 449 will be analyzed in an upcoming bulletin.
Please encourage your representatives to stand with us this year in fighting for Second Amendment rights. If you have not already, join us and please visit our website for volunteer opportunities. This year the Bloomberg gun control fanatics have once again succeeded in getting several gun control measures introduced such as a ban on “assault weapons”.
People like you signing petitions, making phone calls, and donating generously are the reason we can fight back against the gun grabbers and protect the Second Amendment. We cannot do it without you.
Roy F. Harmon III
South Carolina Carry, Inc.
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South Carolina Carry Inc.