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South Carolina Moms Demand Action, Students Demand Action Respond as Gov. McMaster Signs Dangerous Open Carry Bill

May 17, 2021

The South Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action and Students Demand Action, both part of Everytown for Gun Safety’s grassroots networks, released the following statement after South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster ignored law enforcement opposition and signed HB 3094.

“Governor McMaster promised to support law enforcement, public safety, local businesses, and frontline medical professionals, but by signing this dangerous bill, he’s done the opposite,” said Jackie Shelley, a volunteer with the South Carolina chapter of Moms Demand Action. “And by ignoring the near-universal opposition to open carry, lawmakers have failed to protect their constituents and public safety.”

As first reported by the Post and Courier, more than 90 faith leaders across South Carolina sent a letter to lawmakers opposing dangerous permitless carry and open carry bills being considered by the South Carolina legislature. And nearly 30 businesses and restaurant owners wrote a letter that was provided to The State, telling the General Assembly they were “genuinely concerned” about the risk to family safety that open carry and permitless carry pose. Columnists with The Post & Courier and the Myrtle Beach Sun News Editorial Board called on lawmakers to reject permitless carry and other extreme gun measures moving through the legislature. 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. A recent article by Maayan Schechter at The State detailed how faith leaders, doctors, law enforcement and their allies have partnered with gun safety groups like Moms Demand Action to oppose permitless and open carry. See more here on the widespread opposition to these dangerous bills.

What to know about open carry in South Carolina:

  • Open carry, which allows for carrying firearms visibly in public, is a dangerous policy exploited by white supremacists and extremists, like the violent insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol, to intimidate their opponents. In fact, research shows that extreme-right activists have been using guns as tools of violence in increasingly brazen ways.
  • Research shows that open carry threatens public safety: visible guns have been found to make people more aggressive; therefore open carry could make it more likely that disagreements will turn into violent conflicts.

More information about open carry laws is available here.

If you're a member of the media, please send inquiries to [email protected]sdemandaction.org