A bill making its way through the South Carolina legislature could make it easier for gun owners to carry their weapons across state lines. It would allow people with carry permits in South Carolina to take their weapons in Georgia without penalty.
While nearly every South Carolina state lawmaker supports this gun reciprocity, state law enforcement isn’t crazy about the idea.
“I would feel much safer if I was able to protect myself,” said Aiken resident Sonia Hillman, who is training to get her concealed weapons permit.
She’s also worried about what may happen when she needs to cross state lines.
“My husband is in his eighties,” she said. “He can become ill, and I might have to go to the hospital down in Augusta, possibly even at night.”
A new bill could change things for Sonia and the nearly 3,000 South Carolina residents who have their weapons permits. State Representative Bill Hixon is a co-sponsor on House Bill 3799, which would allow those permit holders to carry their guns into Georgia without breaking the law.
“That’s the main thing my constituents talk to me about,” Hixon said.
“For those of us who live in a border city, you know, we need reciprocity between the two states. We’re joined at the hip.”
Hixon says he’s not surprised the bill passed so swiftly in the house. But as it makes its way to the senate floor for approval, South Carolina law enforcement is saying – not so fast.
“It’s not that we’re anti-gun,” said Jarrod Bruder with the South Carolina Sheriff’s Association.
“We just want to make sure if you’re carrying that gun, then you’re at least efficient with it.”
But for Sonia Hillman, the bill won’t just save her anxiety when she crosses state lines, it would also save her about fifty bucks.
“I had to buy a Utah permit, which is recognized in Georgia, so that I could carry across state lines.”
We don’t know exactly when this bill will be discussed in the South Carolina Senate. We did reach out to Governor Haley’s office to hear her opinion on the bill, but so far she as not made any comment on the potential measure.