Permission not Required: “Open Carry” Bill Pending in South Carolina House

COLUMBIA, S.C. (Feb 2, 2020) – A bill filed in the South Carolina House would make it legal for South Carolinians to open carry firearms, fostering an environment hostile to federal gun control.

Representative Jonathon D. Hill (R-Townville) and nine cosponsors filed House Bill 3456 (H.3456) last January, and is up for consideration in the two-year legislative session. The legislation would amend sections of the state law allowing people to carry without a permit, leaving the prohibition only for those who are not legally allowed to own a weapon. The bill would also remove some restrictions on open carry. The state would still issue concealed carry permits for those wishing to travel to states with CCDW permit reciprocity.

The site South Carolina Carry describes H.3456 as follows: “While the bill is a long ways from eliminating all restrictions on the carrying of firearms, it is a step in the right direction without giving up firearm liberties.

It was referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary but did not garner a public hearing in 2019. Since its introduction, 15 additional cosponsors signed on to the bill.

If passed, H.3456 would take a small step returning to the original vision of the founders, in which citizens had a duty to be armed rather than need permission to carry. In the original 13 colonies, all but Quaker (pacifist) Pennsylvania required able-bodied men to have a working musket and respond to musters. It’s why George Mason said at the Virginia Ratifying Convention that the militia was “the whole of the people, except for a few public officials.” The Founders wanted militia to defend the colonies, not a standing military that could threaten liberties

EFFECT ON FEDERAL GUN CONTROL

While state bills loosening restrictions on carrying firearms do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of laws like this subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.

The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions such as passing H.3456 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.

WHAT’S NEXT

H.3456 remains in the Senate Committee on Judiciary where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process.


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