More than half of the nation’s states currently have some version of so-called “constitutional carry” firearms laws on the books — and one more might soon be joining the list.
🇺🇸NRA VICTORY: Majority of U.S. States (26) Have Enacted NRA-Backed Constitutional Carry pic.twitter.com/NBPmTJNYAb
— NRA (@NRA) April 3, 2023
According to reports, South Carolina lawmakers advanced legislation earlier this month that could make it the 27th U.S. state to enact broad protections for gun owners.
Republican state Rep. Bobby Cox first introduced House Bill 3594 and the chamber passed it with an 87-26 vote later the same month.
The state Senate’s judiciary subcommittee pushed the bill forward last week by a slim 3-2 margin, meaning it will now go before the full committee for a vote.
Pro-Second Amendment groups including the NRA have come out in support of the bill, as have state law enforcement leaders. Cox cited that widespread support in calling on fellow state legislators to “not delay” in passing the bill.
“The House version was a collaborative effort between 2A groups and law enforcement to restore our constitutional freedom and keep guns out of the hands of criminals,” he added.
GOP Gov. Henry McMaster acknowledged that some residents are hesitant about expanding gun rights in the state, but he said that if the bill reaches his desk, he plans to sign it into law.
“I know there’s a concern about it, but I don’t share those concerns,” he explained. “I don’t think everybody’s going to run out and buy a pistol to carry it around. I think the people who will are the law-abiding citizens who know how to handle firearms, and I think the Constitution, the Second Amendment, says you have a right, and I think the legislation is right on point.”
Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis recently signed a similar bill into law that allows residents of that state to carry a concealed firearm without a permit.
GOP state Sen. Jay Collins sponsored that bill and issued a statement celebrating the governor’s decision to support it.
“Government will not get in the way of law-abiding Americans who want to defend themselves and their families,” he said.
In Georgia, Republican state Sen. Jason Anavitarte sponsored a constitutional carry bill out of concern that COVID-19 had made it more difficult to obtain a permit.
“The opposing argument will say that this is going to do more harm than good, but if you’re a criminal in Georgia, you shouldn’t be carrying anyway,” he said in defense of the legislation. “As we’ve seen crime rates go up, I think more people want to be able to possess a firearm to protect themselves.”