S.C. House panel OKs concealed carry reciprocity with Georgia

Those who legally carry concealed weapons from Georgia into South Carolina should have their gun licenses recognized by the Palmetto state, according to a measure that passed the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Under the bill, those who hold concealed weapons permits in Georgia would be allowed to carry their guns into South Carolina. Georgia does not recognize South Carolina citizens who have a license to conceal their weapons, but lawmakers said they hope that passing the bill would push Georgia lawmakers in that direction.

If the bill passes, South Carolinians with the proper permit would be able to carry concealed weapons in Georgia. Under a 1996 law, Georgia recognizes concealed weapon permit holders from states that have reciprocal agreements.

Rep. Peter McCoy, R-Charleston, a committee member, said the bill was primarily aimed at those who live along the Georgia-South Carolina border. “This bill is aimed at folks who are law-abiding citizens,” he said.

Georgia requires background checks for the weapons permit, but not the mandated training that South Carolina does. Rep. James Smith, D-Columbia, said that could pose safety issues as well as other unintended consequences. “You’re going to give rights to citizens who aren’t our citizens to have a CWP with a lesser standard,” he said.

The bill now heads to the House floor for a vote.

Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect a 1996 Georgia law that would allow concealed weapons holders in South Carolina to carry their weapons in Georgia if South Carolina passes its reciprocity bill.