Legislative Update: Open Carry, REACH Act approved

Don’t be surprised if you walk into your neighborhood drug store or supermarket and see people walking around with their firearms strapped openly to their sides. On Aug. 15, South Carolina joined 13 other states that allow the licensed open carry of handguns. South Carolinians who have a concealed weapons permit may now carry their handgun openly in many circumstances and may also display their handgun openly in their vehicle. The Open Carry with Training Act cancels the $50 fee charged by the state for concealed weapons permits and allows church officials to carry openly on church grounds and on school grounds that are being leased for use by a church during services or other official church activities.

The new law does have several limitations and should not be confused with “constitutional carry,” which would allow anyone to openly carry a handgun. Only licensed CWP holders may carry a handgun either concealed or openly. Business and private property owners are still permitted to prohibit the carrying of firearms, concealed or open, if they display the signage that meets the requirements of the law. Local governments are permitted to ban the open carrying of firearms on public property during certain events described in the law. The law also contains a provision that bars state and local government agencies from implementing or enforcing any federal law that abridges Second Amendment rights.

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