Handgun

Handgun

EDITOR’S NOTE: This was originally published at https://scpolicycouncil.org. Find the full report HERE .

This year, lawmakers have filed a number of bills to restrict the right of South Carolina residents to keep and bear arms. Below are some of the most aggressive bills, and their current status.

H.3275: Seizure of weapons without due process

Known as “red flag” legislation, H.3275 would allow a judge to order the seizure of an individual’s firearms and ammunition, even if no crime is committed. If a solicitor, assistant solicitor, or two police officers bring a complaint to the judge that an individual is a risk to himself or others, the judge could issue the warrant to confiscate the firearms. Only after the weapons and ammunition were taken would the owner would get a hearing in probate court. If at the hearing the judge decides the gun owner poses a risk of imminent injury to himself or others, the state could hold the guns for up to a year, and the court would notify the Department of Mental Health.

Status: In the House Judiciary Committee

H.3053: Permanent loss of gun rights for crime with max penalty of over one year of prison

H.3053 would prohibit a person from owning guns if they are convicted of a crime that carries a maximum prison sentence of more than a year. Under current law, this automatic loss of gun rights applies only to felony convictions. In South Carolina, a wide variety of minor crimes carry maximum legal sentences of over a year, including trespassing onto state park property, misrepresenting income to a housing agency, third offense of vandalism through graffiti, and more.

Status: In the House Judiciary Committee

H.3206: Ban on assault weapons

H.3206 would prohibit the ownership of “assault weapons,” defined in this bill as semiautomatic rifles with a detachable magazine of 21 or more bullets, semiautomatic shotguns with a folding stock or a magazine capacity of 6 rounds or more, and “high capacity magazines” – detachable magazines that can contain 15 bullets or more. The bill would also outlaw bump stocks, which were recently banned by the federal government.

Status: In the House Judiciary Committee

S.421: CWP holders cannot carry a weapon into a business that serves alcohol

S.421 would make it illegal for a concealed weapons permit (CWP) holder to carry a firearm into a business that serves alcoholic beverages. Penalties for violating this law if passed could include up to three years of incarceration and loss of the CWP for five years. Current law – which was implemented in 2014 — allows CWP holders to carry concealed weapons into restaurants, provided the CWP holder does not consume alcoholic beverage while carrying. This bill would go back to the original law prohibiting carry into establishments serving alcohol.

Status: In the Senate Judiciary Committee

S.606: Universal background checks, no private gun sales

S.606 would prohibit the sale or transfer of guns without a firearm dealer’s license (with a few small exceptions), and would require background checks for every firearm sale. Penalties for violation include up to three years in prison and/or a fine of up to $2,000.

Status: In the Senate Judiciary Committee

None of these bills made the April 10 crossover deadline (the date by which a bill has to cross to the opposite chamber in order to be considered this year).

There are procedural ways to fast-track any of these bills, and lawmakers could always attempt to insert them as amendments to other legislation.

The last official day of session this year is May 9, but as this is the first year of the two-year session, any bills that do not pass this year could pass next year.