UPDATED — S.C. considers joining much of U.S. in open gun carry

UPDATED -- S.C. considers joining much of U.S. in open gun carry

COLUMBIA (AP) — Some South Carolina Republican lawmakers are trying to get the decidedly conservative state to join 44 others that allow people to carry guns without concealing them. South Carolina is one of only five states without so-called open carry, joining atypical partners such as California, Florida, Illinois and New York. A House panel voted 3-1 along party lines to advance a bill Wednesday that would allow people who already have concealed-weapons permits to carry their guns without hiding them under a coat or other clothing. The proposal has a long way to go before becoming law. But like another bill proposed each session that would ban almost all abortions, the open-carry bill got a boost when Republicans gained five seats in the General Assembly in the 2020 elections. Before voting Wednesday, the subcommittee listened to the public speak for about two hours, both in person and virtually. Some speakers said the proposal would make them feel safer protecting their family, while doctors said they feared more gun violence and domestic killings in a state that is often among the worst in the country. Some gun owners said the concealed-weapons law is just fine as it is. But Charleston’s police chief asked lawmakers to focus instead on laws ensuring that violent criminals serve more time in prison. Chief Luther Reynolds, testifying by video, told lawmakers open carry is a bad idea given the recent increase in protests over racial injustice, which often involve angry people pitted against each […]

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