H.3700 – Constitutional carry

H.3700 is a full constitutional carry bill. Anyone over 21 who is legally allowed to own a handgun in the state could carry that handgun in public, either openly or concealed, without the requirement of a concealed weapons permit (CWP). This bill would still allow businesses to restrict weapons on their premises if they have legally posted a sign stating the prohibition. It would continue to prohibit carrying a weapon into a residence without the permission of the owner. Any person who wishes to carry concealed into institutions such as schools, daycares, churches, courthouses, hospitals, etc. would need express permission from the governing authorities of the institution to do so. Finally, the bill would enact reciprocity for CWP holders between South Carolina and all other states.

Currently, in order to practice your fundamental right to self-defense with a firearm, a right dating back to English common law and recognized by the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, South Carolinians who want a permit to carry a concealed handgun in approved locations are required to pay the government a $50 fee (tax), take an eight hour training class, and wait three months for a permit to be processed. In this scheme, carrying a firearm for self-defense is a privilege, not a right.

While other factors certainly play a part in reduction in violent crimes, the evidence does support a correlation between South Carolina becoming a constitutional carry state and a reduction in violent crimes committed. If greater freedom to carry firearms contributed in a significant way to the reduction of violent crime, it stands to reason that greater freedom in that area would have similarly beneficial effects.

Currently, four states have embraced constitutional carry: Vermont, Arizona, Alaska, and Wyoming. Vermont has allowed constitutional carry since the eighteenth century and was ranked the second most peaceful state in America by the Institute for Economics and Peace. Arizona and Wyoming passed constitutional carry in 2010 and 2011 respectively. Violent crime rates in both states have decreased in comparison to levels before enacting constitutional carry.

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