U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- In South Carolina, both licensed open Carry and Constitutional Carry bills (H3094 and H3096) have passed the House and are sitting in the Senate Judiciary Committee, waiting to be scheduled for a vote.
One Second Amendment activist, James Moffitt wrote, on 24 March, about the Senate Judiciary Committee:
This is typically where most 2A friendly bills go to die. Everyone reading this should be contacting the Senate Judiciary committee members now. I can guarantee you Moms Demand Action will be filling up their inboxes and flooding their voice mail. The time for action is NOW!!
The Judiciary Committee Chair is powerful Republican Senator Luke Rankin. Rankin has been in the South Carolina Senate since 1992. He was elected when he was 30 years old, a few years out of law school. He is a practicing attorney in the law firm, Rankin & Rankin, in Horry County, South Carolina. Rankin was a Democrat until 2004 when he switched to become a Republican.
He faced a primary challenge in 2020, It was a very close three-way race, where Rankin received 39%, his opponents received 35% and 26% of the vote, leading to a run-off election. Rankin won the run-off in a race with the extremely low turn-out, less than 11,000 votes, with 58% of the vote.
One news outlet wrote Rankin’s opponent in the run-off, John Gallman, had his divorce papers leaked to the media while Rankin’s divorce remained sealed.
In 2014, Senator Rankin was reported to vote against a Constitutional Carry bill in the Judiciary Committee.
In 2018, Senator Rankin removed an open carry bill from the Judiciary Committee agenda, effectively killing the bill.
On 19 February 2021, Senator Rankin hosted a podcast titled: Our Constitution, Our Guns, Our Rights!
During the podcast, Senator Rankin hosts guest Representative Stewart Jones, an avid Second Amendment supporter in the South Carolina House of Representatives. Stewart sponsored both H3094, open carry, and H3096, Constitutional Carry. Senator Rankin seems to agree with him. If you listen closely, Rankin does not quite endorse the bills. At 19:20 in the podcast, he says:
“We are talking about Constitutional Carry, open carry, here in South Carolina, how do we get there?”
It would seem, one of the ways to “get there” would be for Senator Rankin, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to schedule a vote on the bills, while support is high. Open Carry would seem a shoo-in. South Carolina is one of only five states to ban the open carry of handguns in most public places. Texas passed licensed open carry, similar to H3094, in 2015.
Twenty states have Constitutional Carry without adverse consequences. It should not be a difficult argument to make, to pass the bill in South Carolina.
At about 24:00 in the podcast, Senator Rankin says:
“I love your approach. I love what you are doing.”
In the podcast, Rankin says that South Carolina is not as conservative as it might seem.
It is hard to know what will happen in South Carolina. Senator Rankin has a long record of voting for incremental improvements in the South Carolina firearms laws. He voted for the shall-issue law in 1996, and a number of incremental improvements since then, such as for South Carolina to recognize permits from Georgia and North Carolina in 2016. From lukerankinsc.com:
I STAND for our right to bear arms and defend ourselves. I have defended hunters’ rights and expanded concealed weapon permits to give gun owners the freedom they deserve. (Act 464, 1996, Act 274, 2002, 2005, Act 347, 2006, Act 349, 2008, Act 123, 2014, Act 223, 2016, Act 154)
With this past history, the incremental change to licensed open carry in South Carolina would be logical and reasonable.
While President Biden is attempting to restrict second Amendment rights would be an excellent time to re-enforce those rights in South Carolina.
This correspondent attempted to call Representative Jones and Senator Rankin but has not received a return call as of publication.
Both Constitutional Carry and Open Carry bills are now in Senator Rankin’s committee. The ball is in his court. So far, neither bill has been scheduled for a vote.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.