House Floor Actions
February 23

H. 3594, constitutional firearm carrying, has passed the House, and been sent to the Senate for consideration.

It would declare that South Carolina citizens have a constitutional right to carry their firearms anywhere in South Carolina except in law enforcement, detention, or correction facilities; courthouses; polling places on election day; in business meetings by, or in the offices of, city, county, public school district, or special purpose district facilities; school or college events unrelated to firearms; daycare or preschool facilities; anywhere prohibited by federal law; religious sanctuaries including churches; healthcare facilities of any type unless permission is granted; another person’s residence; and any facility clearly marked with a sign complying with state specifications that disallows firearms on those premises. They also could store their firearms anywhere within their motor vehicles.

However, these prohibitions would not apply to anyone with permission of a property owner to carry on those premises, law enforcement officials, military, militia, and reserve officers while on duty; qualified retired law enforcement officers; anyone listed under state law as having authority to carry pistols anywhere in South Carolina, including justices, judges, solicitors, workers’ compensation commissioners; and, the South Carolina Attorney General and his assistants. As amended, active county clerks of court, active public defenders, and active assistant public defenders would be added to this list. Note, though, that in its current version, this bill prohibits public defenders and assistant public defenders from carrying a firearm into any local or state detention facility.
Anyone openly carrying their firearm in compliance with this proposed legislation would not give any law enforcement officer or official with arrest powers either a reasonable suspicion or probable cause to be searched, detained, or arrested for doing so.

Also as amended, first time violators of these prohibitions would face up to 5 years in jail, second time offenders would face from 5 to 20 years in jail, and third time or more violators would face 10 to 30 years in jail. Anyone convicted of a crime punishable by up to one year in jail would be prohibited from possessing firearms or ammunition.

Firearm owners would have to report the loss or theft of their guns to an appropriate law enforcement agency within 30 days after discovering it. The General Assembly encourages all gun owners to receive appropriate gun safety training before carrying their firearms. CWP holders would have to report losing their permits within 48 hours, and pardons that are granted could ban gun possession, transport, or sales if this bill is enacted.

The House approved H. 3340 and sent it to the Senate for deliberation. This proposal would add anyone with an autism spectrum disorder or other developmental disability diagnosis to the list of people eligible for inclusion in the State Law Enforcement Division’s Endangered Person Notification System.

H. 3802, a bill that reduces the membership of the Board of Trustees for the Veterans’ Trust Fund of South Carolina from nineteen to eleven, was amended, approved, and sent to the Senate. The Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoints the Board consisting of one member from each congressional district and four members from the state at large (two of which must reside in a rural county). The Governor’s appointees from each of the congressional districts serve four-year terms, and the remaining appointees shall serve two-year terms (after the expiration of the terms of those members initially appointed, the term of office for the members of the Board is four years). Members may succeed themselves; however, no member may serve more than two consecutive terms or eight continuous years. The bill also outlines that of the eleven appointed members, at least six must be United States Armed Forces veterans. Any veteran who serves on the board, must have been honorably discharged from the armed services. The Secretary of the Department of Veterans’ Affairs shall serve as the executive director of the trust fund and an ex officio nonvoting member of the board.

H. 3797 was approved and sent to the Senate.
The bill would enact the “Military Temporary Remote School Enrollment Act” outlining requirements (including to districts) for school enrollment for children of military personnel who are transferred to a military installation within the state of South Carolina while on active military duty (a pupil would be considered a resident of the school district). The parent or legal guardian must provide proof of residence to the school district within ten days after the arrival date provided on official documentation. Any ambiguity in construing the provisions of this bill must be resolved in favor of the enrolling pupil.

The House approved and accepted a motion on Thursday to give third reading the next day to H. 3505. The bill removes certain possession restrictions (unlawful to possess more than two blue catfish greater than thirty-two inches in length in any one day) for blue catfish (Ictalurus furcatus) for all state waterways, but maintains those restrictions for Lake Marion, Lake Moultrie, the upper reach of the Santee River, Congaree and Wateree Rivers and adds the Great Pee Dee. A similar change is made to make it unlawful to take more than twenty-five blue catfish a day on Lake Marion, Lake Moultrie, the upper reach of the Santee River – adding the Great Pee Dee River and removing those restrictions from all other state waterways.

H. 3686, proposed legislation involving the subject of antisemitism, has been recommitted to the House Judiciary Committee for further review.