Bill to make concealed weapons permit optional passes S.C. House

Bill Hayes teaches a concealed weapons class at ATP Gunshop & Range in 2013. A bill that cleared the House on Thursday would make permits optional for concealed carry.

COLUMBIA — A bill allowing South Carolinians to carry concealed weapons without a permit was approved on Thursday by the House.

The proposal, passed as an amendment to a more limited bill, would require that people carrying guns still pass a background check and be eligible to buy a weapon.

Permits would still be offered so that concealed weapons could be carried in other states that require them and honor permits issued by South Carolina, said Rep. Mike Pitts, the Laurens Republican who proposed the amendment.

Pitts said he pushed the idea as an alternative to unsuccessful “open carry” bills that would have allowed guns to be carried openly in public.

He said he hopes there are less objections to concealed as openly carried weapons.

The proposal now heads to the state Senate.