COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) - People could soon be allowed to carry a gun openly without having to hide it in South Carolina.
Some state lawmakers are hoping to get the Open Carry bill signed by Governor Henry McMaster in the next two weeks before the legislative session ends.
The Open Carry bill is more likely than the Constitutional Carry bill to pass, because it requires training, unlike the Constitutional Carry bill. Both bills passed in the House earlier this year, but more lawmakers support Open Carry over Constitutional Carry.
The State Senate has to approve them before Governor Henry McMaster signs them into law.
Major Mike Nunn with the Florence County Sheriff’s Office said some people think the bills have already become law.
“Deputies are reporting they’ve encountered individuals open carrying in Florence County, and the vast majority of them were operating under the mistaken impression that the law had changed,” Nunn said.
While the Open Carry bill hasn’t passed yet, some state lawmakers like State Rep. Russell Fry are trying to change that.
“You should have the ability to protect yourself and your family,” Fry said. “I think that this helps get us there.”
Not everyone is in favor of the bill though. It’s drawing criticism from some like Bruce Fischer, the vice-chair of the Horry County Democratic Party.
“I think this is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve heard of,” he said. ‘I haven’t heard anything this crazy in a long time.”
Fischer worries about what passing these bills would do for a tourist town like Myrtle Beach that requires the tourism industry to survive.
“If families start seeing open carry sidearms, they’re less like to want to come back,” Fischer said. “It’s a matter of being a family-friendly environment.”