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Open carry in South Carolina

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There is a bill currently passing through the state senate that would grant open carry of handguns in the state of South Carolina. This bill is sponsored by Rep. Mike Pitts. Pitts said he is fighting for our constitutional rights.

“I think it is dangerous and reckless of this state to keep this bill alive. It is not a good thing if people can just take their gun anywhere at anytime” said sophomore Chris Graham.

There are certain places that would stay off limits to this bill, like school events not related to firearms, churches, courthouses, polling stations on election day, prisons, daycares, and hospitals.

If someone violates the bill they could face up to a 1000 dollar fine and a year in prison. Their crime will only count as a misdemeanor on their record, but their permit to open carry will be revoked for five years.

Anyone carrying a gun will also have to tell a cop that has stopped them, in any form, that they are carrying a gun. It is also unlawful to carry a weapon with the intent to use the handgun unlawfully against another person, but the intent of the person with the gun can not be assumed whether the gun is loaded or unloaded.

Section 16-23-20 says that “a person may not carry a handgun off of any real property the person occupies as a resident, owner, or lessee.”

There are some exceptions to this rule listed. One can bring one’s gun off of one’s property if one is a law enforcement agent, a member of the armed forces, a member of a firearms organization, a licensed fisher or hunter,a person regularly engaged in a firearms business, or many other occupations.

One can also carry a handgun in one’s car if it is secured in a glove compartment, closed console, closed trunk, or a closed container. One can have any of these places open with a gun if one is retrieving a license for a police officer.

The bill also goes more in-depth into places one can not purposefully carry a handgun. The punishment for this is a federal offence with a 5000 dollar fine and/or a five year jail sentence. This does not prohibit police officers, guards, members of the armed forces, and students of military science. This also does not apply to highway rest areas.

It is also illegal to bring weapons that may cause bodily harm to others. This does not apply to a person who has a concealed carry license. This is also a federal offence but it carries a 1000 dollar fine and/or five years in jail.

A person carrying a weapon usually used for the harming of other people can face a misdemeanor, a 500 dollar fine, and 30 days in jail. This does not apply to rifles, shotguns, dirks, slingshots, metal knuckles, knives, or razors unless they are used with intent to commit a crime.

It is also illegal to carry a firearm onto a premises where alcohol is sold for consumption. The person must remove the firearm if asked by the legal owner of the premises and they may not consume any alcohol while in possession of a weapon.

Another part of the bill details how out of state open carry permits, held by people at least 18 years of age, will be honored by this state. The age limit, however, does not apply to active members of the National Guard or active/reserves.

This is still currently just a bill, but it has been passed to the house senate. The senate will probably resume talks about the bill in January.

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The student news site of Summerville High School.
Open carry in South Carolina