‘Open carry with training’ gun bill passes SC House over police objections

‘Open carry with training’ gun bill passes SC House over police objections

State Rep. Bobby Cox, R-Greenville, speaks at a news conference in support of his “open carry with training” gun bill as the House debated it on March 17, 2021. Jamie Lovegrove/Staff COLUMBIA — A bill to let concealed weapons permit-holders carry handguns openly in public passed in the South Carolina House after a six-hour debate March 17, overcoming impassioned objections from Democrats and top law enforcement officials, who warned it could make the state less safe. In an 82-33 vote largely along party lines, the Republican-dominated House approved the “open carry with training” bill, which supporters touted as a compromise between those who want to restrict gun rights and those who believe the state should let all legal gun owners carry openly regardless of whether they have a permit. State Rep. Bobby Cox, lead sponsor of the bill, noted that 45 other states already have some type of open carry law on the books and said the bill “will bring us in line with the rest of the country” and “restore our Second Amendment rights.” “We have to do better, and we are doing better,” said Cox, R-Greenville. “This is sending a message that these legislators and myself stand with the citizens of South Carolina to protect our constitutional freedoms.” Black Democrats voiced particularly strenuous opposition to the bill, arguing that police would be more likely to scrutinize them if they seek to take advantage of it by carrying guns openly and that White gun owners could use the […]

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