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Gun Rights and Social Issue Bills Focus of S.C. House

The S.C. House Judiciary Committe in session

The S.C House of Representatives is continuing its focus on controversial gun rights and social issues this legislative session.

This week the House by an overwhelming vote passed the Open Carry with Training bill. It will allow anyone with a state issued concealed weapons permit to openly carry a handgun in public. It contains some restrictions such as in government buildings, and where businesses choose not to allow the practice.

The Open Carry bill was a priority of the Republican led House.

Passage of the bill came despite opposition from some of the state’s top law enforcement leaders, gun safety groups and a large group of ministers. Many African- American house members passionately argued against it saying they fear it will promote gun violence at a time when there are heightened racial tensions across the county.

Wednesday’s marathon session saw debate on the bill focus on race relations leading a number of African-American members to claim that in a climate of what they called institutional racism and a rising number of hate crimes open carry would prove especially dangerous for minorities