Senate to Debate CWP Reciprocity Bill
A RELATIVELY UNIMPORTANT BILL ON A HIGHLY IMPORTANT TOPIC[Update: This bill was passed by the General assembly and signed by the governor.]
Last week, the Senate put H.3799 on the special order calendar and will likely consider the bill this week. It’s a simple reciprocity bill that would require South Carolina to recognize concealed weapons permits, or CWPs, from Georgia and North Carolina.
North Carolina’s requirements for obtaining a CWP are comparable to those of South Carolina: they include completion of an approved handgun safety course, fingerprints, and disclosure of any records concerning the applicant’s mental health or capacity. While Georgia’s CWP laws do require background checks and, when applicable, mental hospital or drug treatment center signoff on the application, they do not mandate preliminary firearms training.
The bill’s significance seems to be symbolic rather than actual. It would allow citizens of Georgia and North Carolina to carry legally concealed firearms across the state border without undue government regulation, but it is unlikely to change much beyond that.
If lawmakers want to spend time and energy on highly consequential legislation – legislation rooted in data-heavy sociological research from numerous perspectives – they ought to reconsider constitutional carry legislation, which would permit anyone who is legally allowed to own a handgun in the state to carry that handgun in public, openly or concealed, and with no CWP required. Three constitutional carry bills were filed this session (S.105, S.570, and H.3716), but none has made it out of committee.
Although the reciprocity bill hardly deserves the term “reform” – it accepts the premise that government regulation of firearms has and can make us safer – it would at least make that permission a little less onerous.