GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCBD) – South Carolina may soon have an open carry law – it’s a topic of discussion right now at the Statehouse in Columbia.
“This would allow residents to actually have a weapon where it was visible versus concealed,” said Goose Creek Police Chief LJ Roscoe.
A House subcommittee met Thursday morning to discuss the bill.
The Open Carry with Training Act would essentially allow a concealed carry permit holder to carry a gun out in the open anywhere that concealed carry is currently permitted.
“This is an incremental step towards restoring our freedoms. This is a bipartisan bill with 67 co-sponsors and allow South Carolina more opportunities to protect themselves,” said State Representative Bobby Cox.
Rep. Cox said South Carolina is one of only five states that does not allow open carry.
During Thursday’s meeting, a representative from the National Rifle Association, DJ Spiker, talked about someone brandishing a gun if the bill does become law. “There are existing South Carolina laws in regard to brandishing threatening intimidation which are all still in place,” said Spiker.
You would still need the same training and background check, which is currently needed for a concealed weapons permit.
A representative of Mom’s Demand Gun Action for America also spoke during the meeting – she supports concealed carry, but not open carry.
“Research has shown that a visible gun has been found to make more people more aggressive. Although South Carolina law allows the open carry of long guns, attempts to normalize the open carry of guns – such as allowing the open carry of handguns – makes it more likely that disagreements are going to result in violent conflicts. Which is something we don’t want to see,” said Joann Walker.
Chief Roscoe says she supports carrying guns, but she does think open carry can put even some gun owners at risk.
“If you’re caring a holster that has a very low retention rate, and a criminal sees you as a target, they could actually come up and take the gun away from the person that’s legally carrying the weapon. So, that’s a concern,” she said.
The bill is in committee. It would still have to pass the House and Senate, then be signed by Governor Henry McMaster before becoming state law.