[image-1] On Wednesday last week, the S.C. House of Representatives passed a bill allowing gun owners to carry handguns in most public places without a permit. It’s unknown how much support it will have when it arrives in the Senate, but the fact that it passed has gotten the attention of the New York Times editorial board, which devoted a staff editorial to it today.
Aside from criticism of the bill’s substance, Statehouse opponents also took issue with how it passed through committee, some saying the measure was being “fast-tracked.” A procedural move a week before limited debate on the bill, which came up two days before the legislature was due to break for 12 days.
Currently, owners must first complete mandatory training before obtaining a concealed weapons permit. If the measure is passed by the Senate and signed into law, anyone who is legally allowed to purchase a gun in S.C. could carry it openly or concealed without a permit.
The Times says the “laissez-faire” gun rights bill “demeaned lawmakers’ First Amendment rights in the rush to further enshrine the Second Amendment.” The NRA has been monitoring the progress of the bill, which it supports.
More from the Times:
The carnage at the Emanuel A.M.E. Church against African-American worshipers was carried out by a racist gunman who was able to buy his weapon because of shoddy enforcement of gun control laws. Yet, rather than focus on tighter gun safety, lawmakers yielded once more to the National Rifle Association’s agenda to freely arm the public and enrich the gun industry. The toll the proliferation of guns takes on the nation was made clear yet again on Monday when gunfire broke out at an elementary school in San Bernardino, Calif., leaving two adults and one child dead and one student critically injured.
Charleston lawmakers were mixed on the bill’s final vote, and not just along party lines. Emanuel AME sits on Calhoun Street, which is the boundary between Democratic Rep. Wendell Gilliard and Republican Rep. William Cogswell’s districts, both of whom voted against the bill.
Katie Arrington (R-District #94, Summerville area)
Lin Bennett (R-114, West Ashley & Dorchester County)
Lee Hewett (R-108, North Mt. P.)
Samuel Rivers, Jr. (R-15, N. Chs.)
Robert Brown (D-116, Hollywood)
William Cogswell, Jr. (R-110, Downtown, Mt. P.)
Bill Crosby, (R-117 University area)
Wendell Gilliard (D-111, Downtown, W. Ashley, N. Chs.)
David Mack III (D-109, Mt. P., N. Chs.)
Mike Sottile (R-112, Mt. P., Sullivans, IOP)
Seth Whipper (D-113, N. Chs.)
Peter McCoy (R-115, James Island, Folly, Kiawah, Seabrook)
Leon Stavrinakis (D-119, James/Johns Island, West Ashley)
James H. Merrill (R-99, Daniel Island, Mt. P.)