With the clock rapidly running out on this year's legislative session, pro-gun Senators fought to grab victory out of the jaws of what appeared to be defeat. Anti-gun state Senator Marlon Kimpson (D-42) had pledged to defeat H. 3799, which sought to add Georgia to the list of states whose Right-to-Carry permits South Carolina would recognize, and he had been using every procedural maneuver available to stop any consideration of this pro-gun reform for several weeks.
This week, Senator Kimpson held the floor during a filibuster that ran the session until after midnight on Tuesday. He also held the threat of countless anti-gun amendments that would have ended any possibility of a final vote on H. 3799 had he been able to force their consideration. With the looming statutorily set adjournment of 5:00p.m. on Thursday, June 2, an agreement was reached that would remove all proposed amendments from consideration, thus allowing a final vote on the bill. After Senator Kimpson relinquished the floor, H. 3799 passed on a vote of 35-3. The bill now heads to pro-gun Governor Nikki Haley (R) for her expected signature.
As previously reported, NRA's goal had been to amend H. 3799 to establish a true recognition standard for Right-to-Carry permits in South Carolina. In fact, NRA had worked closely with the stridently pro-gun Senator Lee Bright (R-12) to draft and offer an amendment that sought to do just that. Recognizing only Georgia, based solely on the fact that it borders South Carolina, but no other states that issue permits in a way similar to Georgia, is simply not logical. But adding Georgia to the list of reciprocal states is still a positive step.
While Senator Kimpson attempted to run out the clock on the session, it became clear to pro-gun Senators that the only viable possible advancement on reciprocity in South Carolina was by recognizing just Georgia permits. Thankfully, Senator Bright, along with several pro-gun Senators--including Larry Martin (R-2), Shane Massey (R-25), Tom Young (R-24), and Nikki Setzler (D-26)--outmaneuvered Kimpson by having the full Senate agree to remove all amendments. Although this meant Senator Bright's pro-gun amendment would no longer be offered, it also meant the countless anti-gun amendments would also not be considered, and that there would be an actual vote on H. 3799.
It is disappointing H. 3799 was not as pro-gun as we had hoped it would be. However, several pro-gun Senators have pledged to work with NRA to ensure a strong push will be made next year to establish a true recognition standard in South Carolina for Right-to-Carry permits. Senator Larry Martin, the influential Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman, has committed to hold hearings on this issue early next year, which will help ensure time does not become the factor it was this year.
Please contact your state Senator, and if he or she voted for H. 3799, thank them for their support, and ask them to commit to working with NRA to pass a true recognition standard for Right-to-Carry permits in South Carolina next year.