Bill granting Georgia residents concealed carry rights in S.C. sent to Senate floor

A Senate panel on Tuesday approved a bill that expands concealed weapons rights to Georgia residents.

COLUMBIA — Georgia residents with concealed weapons permits could soon be able to also carry their guns in South Carolina.

A Senate Judiciary panel unanimously voted Tuesday to send a bill to the floor that makes it so Georgia residents who carry firearms don’t have to put them away when they cross the state line.

Sen. Brad Hutto, D-Orangeburg, said the reason the neighboring states do not already have an agreement is because Georgia’s requirements for getting a permit are not as extensive as they are in South Carolina.

“This would allow Georgia residents to carry so long as they abide by the concealed weapons laws of South Carolina once they got here,” Hutto said.

Georgia does not currently recognize South Carolina’s permits. But the Georgia law is written in a way that allows for automatic recognition of states that recognize Georgia’s permits. If the bill advancing through the S.C. Senate becomes law, South Carolinians with permits would be able to carry their guns into Georgia instantly.

Other notable bills approved Tuesday:

The Senate panel approved a bill on a vote of 12-7 that would ask South Carolina voters to decide if an unborn child should receive the rights of state citizens. Two senators placed a “hold” on the bill that will require its sponsor, Sen. Lee Bright, R-Roebuck, to get two-thirds of the Senate’s members to vote in favor of debating the bill.

“If an unborn child had the ability to come and speak to us today, it would say ‘just let me live,’ ” Bright said.

Following a bill supported by House members earlier this year, the panel approved two bills that will reform the way alimony is calculated.

One bill will give Family Court judges expanded guidance when adjusting or eliminating alimony payments. The second bill would keep a new spouse’s income from being considered when determining alimony.

The panel unanimously approved a bill that would change the age at which a juvenile charged with a crime is tried as an adult, from 17 to 18. It also would change the age that a teen is charged with committing a violent crime as an adult from 16 to 17.

Reach Maya T. Prabhu at 843-509-8933.