A House panel has advanced a bill that allows for South Carolinians to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.
The proposed law, by Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, advanced with no opposition during a hearing held Thursday morning at a House panel.
No one signed up to speak in favor or against the proposed law, which was filed on Tuesday. A hearing for the bill was scheduled Wednesday at 8:18 a.m., for Thursday. The Thursday 9 a.m., hearing lasted just a little over five minutes.
The measure is similar to a bill introduced during the 2016 Legislative year. It’s also commonly referred to as “Constitutional Carry,” because it allows for firearms owners to carry a weapon concealed without a permit. It would also allow for “open carry,” which allows for firearm owners to carry a weapon on their person without having to conceal it.
It differs slightly from the 2016 bill in that it keeps the state’s concealed weapons permitting system in place so that weapons owners can still carry firearms in other states that don’t have constitutional carry but allow for concealed carry, Pitts said.
The bill passed with unanimous support of the three Republican House members serving on the panel. The committee’s Democrats – Reps. James Smith, of Richland County, and Mandy Powers Norrell, of Lancaster County – were absent from the meeting. Unlike the Senate, the House does not allow for its members to vote by proxy, which allows for others to vote on their behalf when absent.
Check back for updates to this developing story.