The South Carolina Senate amended H 3212, the Right-to-Carry recognition bill, changing it to a conditional reciprocity bill. As passed by the House, this legislation would have required South Carolina to recognize all valid Right-to-Carry permits held by residents of all other states that issue such permits. With the Senate amendment, the bill now will require South Carolina to recognize valid Right-to-Carry permits held by residents of other states, provided the permit issuing process of the other state requires the permittee to undergo a criminal background check, as well as pass a course that teaches firearm safety. While the legislation does not go as far as the House version, it will greatly increase the number of states whose permits South Carolina will now recognize, as well as the number of states that will recognize a South Carolina permit. This amendment was necessary in order to ensure the Senate passed this needed reform. Without this new language, this bill would not have passed out of the Senate. NRA supports the amended version of H 3212, and we appreciate the help of the Senators who worked directly with NRA to ensure we could pass the best possible language. We wish to especially thank State Senators Jim Ritchie (R-13) and Jake Knotts (R-23) for their help with this legislation. Please take a moment to thank these Senators, even if they are not yours, as well thank your Senator for supporting this needed reform. H 3212 passed Second Reading in the Senate on Thursday, March 13, and should pass Third Reading next Tuesday, March 18. The next step will be for the House to vote to concur with the Senate's amended version. If the House concurs, the bill will be sent to Governor Mark Sanford (R). After calling your State Senator, please call your State Representative and urge him to vote for the amended version of H 3212. The contact information for your appropriate State Senator and Representative can be found here.
Unfortunately, the news is not so good for another NRA-supported effort. H 3202 was legislation that proposed an Amendment to the South Carolina Constitution that would have recognized hunting and fishing as protected rights. The language that passed out of the House would have allowed South Carolina voters to vote on an amendment that would have clearly protected hunting and fishing for future generations. A Senate Judiciary Subcommittee, however, amended H 3202 on Wednesday, March 12, replacing effective language with language that has no teeth and will do virtually nothing to protect sportsmen against future attacks from the anti-hunting radicals. The version of H 3202 that passed the subcommittee is not supported by NRA. NRA will work with Senators to amend H 3202 either back to the version originally passed by the House, or rewrite it entirely to adopt NRA Model Language that is being promoting nationwide. If we are successful with our Model Language, South Carolina could become the benchmark state for meaningful Right to Hunt and Fish language that we can use as an example for other states. Please contact your State Senator and urge him to work with NRA to amend H 3202 so that South Carolina can adopt a Right to Hunt and Fish Constitutional Amendment that will truly protect our hunting and fishing heritage for future generations. Contact information can be found here.
Finally, H 3528 will be up for consideration in the House when it returns for its break on Tuesday, March 25. This legislation would restrict the release of personal information regarding the holder of a valid concealed weapons permit (CWP), allowing release only to law enforcement to aid in an official investigation, or to comply with a subpoena or court order. The Senate amended the legislation not only to require the new restriction on releasing personal information of permittees, but to also require that any existing lists already released by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) be destroyed. In addition, H 3528 was amended to require that SLED issue a statistical report on permits every year, but this report will be limited to contain information such as the number of permits issued, number of applications denied, number of renewals, number of permits suspended or revoked, etc. The only personal information that could be released would be on individuals whose permits have been suspended or revoked. NRA will be working with legislators to make some technical corrections to the bill to make it even better. Please contact your State Representative and urge him or her to support H 3528, and work with NRA on this important issue to make necessary technical corrections, and oppose any weakening amendments. You can find your representative by clicking here.