COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina chapters of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statements after the South Carolina House Judiciary Committee advanced HB 3096, extreme legislation which would allow people to carry a loaded firearm – openly or concealed – in public without a background check or any safety training. Permitless carry legislation also allows extremists and white supremacists to evade background check requirements and safeguards to responsible gun ownership. Earlier today, the General Laws subcommittee advanced this legislation in under 5 minutes without any discussion after hearing multiple testimonies in opposition at the previous meeting.
“It’s common sense – anyone who wants to carry a firearm in public should go through a background check and some safety training,” said Jackie Shelley, a volunteer with the South Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action. “This dangerous bill, which our lawmakers are recklessly fast-tracking, would gut our permitting system and make our families less safe. We’ll keep fighting to make sure that this proposal never becomes law.”
As first reported by the Post and Courier, “more than 90 faith leaders from around South Carolina are planning to send a letter to state lawmakers March 16 in opposition to” dangerous permitless carry and open carry bills being considered by the South Carolina legislature. A 2018 poll found that 76 percent of South Carolina voters oppose making it legal to carry a loaded handgun in public without a permit or safety training. Permitless carry legislation like HB 3096 is even more extreme than HB 3094, which would allow for the open carry of handguns in public. The editorial boards of the Charleston Post and Courier, Charleston City Paper, and the Myrtle Beach Sun News have all called on the legislature to reject open carry. In the General Laws subcommittee, Charleston Police Chief Luther Reynolds joined other law enforcement representatives, doctors, and gun owners in testifying against this dangerous bill, and State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel also opposes the bill.