Concealed Weapons Bill Advances in State House

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) _ A bill allowing adults to carry a gun in South Carolina without a permit is advancing in the House.

A House subcommittee’s three Republicans voted for the bill Thursday with no discussion. The panel’s two Democrats were absent.

Similar bills in this gun-friendly state have died repeatedly since at least 2011. Law enforcement officials have consistently opposed allowing people to carry guns in public without training or safety education.

GOP Rep. Mike Pitts of Laurens says a difference in his bill this year is that gun owners would not have to keep their weapon hidden in public. They could carry it openly.

The bill would also maintain the state’s concealed weapon permitting process for gun owners who want to carry in other states that already recognize South Carolina’s permit.