Politics

South Carolina Could Recognize Georgia Gun Permits

In this Jan. 4, 2013, photo, handguns are displayed in the sales area of Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range, in Sandy Springs, Ga. In Connecticut and Colorado, scenes of the most deadly U.S. mass shootings in 2012, people were less enthusiastic about buying new guns at the end of the year than in most other states, according to an Associated Press analysis of new FBI data. The biggest surges in background checks for people who want to carry or buy guns occurred in states in the South and West. (AP Photo/Robert Ray)
In this Jan. 4, 2013, photo, handguns are displayed in the sales area of Sandy Springs Gun Club and Range, in Sandy Springs, Ga. In Connecticut and Colorado, scenes of the most deadly U.S. mass shootings in 2012, people were less enthusiastic about buying new guns at the end of the year than in most other states, according to an Associated Press analysis of new FBI data. The biggest surges in background checks for people who want to carry or buy guns occurred in states in the South and West. (AP Photo/Robert Ray)
Credit Robert Ray / Associated Press

Georgia gun owners with concealed carry permits might soon be able to take their firearms to more places in South Carolina. That’s if House Bill 3799 that’s been proposed in the South Carolina legislature gains approval.

Right now, Georgians with a gun permit can cross into South Carolina with a firearm if they keep it in a glove compartment or trunk. They can also take it into a hotel if the owner says it’s OK. But they can’t carry guns into other places where they’re allowed for South Carolinians. A bill that’s making its way through the legislature there would change that.

Jerry Henry with GeorgiaCarry.org says if the legislation passes, it would be a victory for Georgia gun owners.

“It would give us the right to defend ourselves anywhere we go in South Carolina,” Henry says. “Right now, we can’t do that.”

The bill would also allow South Carolina residents with firearm permits to carry their guns into Georgia. That’s because of a reciprocity law which says residents of states that recognize Georgia concealed carry permits can bring their guns here.

That part of the law worries Melinda Ennis of Georgia GunSense, a nonprofit coalition that works to reduce gun violence. It could lead to more criminals getting their hands on firearms, Ennis says.

“The slippage you could get with reciprocity of criminals going from one state to another until they find a place where they can get a gun easily creates this problem, and we just don’t see the need for it, and we think it’s a dangerous policy,” Ennis says.

Georgia currently has reciprocity when it comes to firearms permits with nearly 30 other states.