SC open gun carrying law passes first hurdle - WJBF-TV ABC 6 Augusta-Aiken News, Weather, Sports

SC open gun carrying law passes first hurdle

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A woman in Horry County recently enrolled in a program to learn about guns and to get her permit for carrying a gun. (Source: WBTW) A woman in Horry County recently enrolled in a program to learn about guns and to get her permit for carrying a gun. (Source: WBTW)
COLUMBIA, SC -

A Senate panel has passed a bill that would allow people to carry guns in public in South Carolina without a concealed weapons permit.

 Supporters of the open carry bill said Wednesday it still needs some more work to make sure there aren't any loopholes. They plan to tweak the bill when it goes before the Senate Judiciary Committee next month. 

Currently, anyone who wants to carry a gun in public has to have a permit and keep it concealed. It takes at least eight hours of training to get permission to carry a concealed weapon.

 The hearing on the bill was packed with gun supporters. Many of them said a concealed weapon permit is an extra unnecessary step when the constitution allows people to have guns.

On March 11, South Carolina State Senator Lee Bright held a public forum for people to sound off on the proposed bill.

"The second amendment is what our entire constitution stands on if it goes down, we are done, and that's a fact," gun owner Chris Swanson said. 

There are few subjects that elicit this kind of reaction, but gun rights are definitely one of them.

South Carolina State Senator Lee Bright held a public forum so you could sound off on his proposed bill to allow you to open carry your gun.

It would eliminate training, and concealed weapons permits.

"I think people like my parents and my sisters who don't have time and money for training should be allowed to carry if they want to," Walter Knight said.

WSPA-TV asked Greenville Attorney Kim Varner what this would mean when it comes to your liability, in case you were forced to pull the trigger in a public place.

Varner says right now, the training required to get your concealed weapons permit could actually help you in a court of law.

"The more education training and experience a person has the more credible, and a jury weighs those factors among many other factors in a civil lawsuit," Varner said.

Senator Lee Bright says its not about liability, or right or wrong, he says its about protecting your constitutional right.

"We ought not have to go to the government and ask for a permit to assert our right," Bright said. 

But not everyone participating in the forum agree. 

"I wouldn't feel comfortable taking my family into a venue where there are guns," Terry Taylor said.

"I don't believe in open carry permits. I believe in CWP permits with proper training," Carl Stoner said.

Bright admits the senate is split on the proposed bill, from the passion at Monday night's forum it appears the bill has more than just your lawmakers divided.

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