Testimony of Tommy Dimsdale PGR Legislative Director
Thank you for the opportunity to weigh in on the issue of expanding our gun rights in South Carolina.
My name is Tommy Dimsdale. I am the Legislative Director at Palmetto Gun Rights, a grassroots supported organization with over 60,000 supporters across our state.
It is Palmetto Gun Rights’ goal to fully restore the rights of law-abiding gun owners in South Carolina.
I want to express my agreement with the concept of “open carry” but also say that we are disappointed that lawmakers think this bill adequate to address the needs of gun owners.
Sadly, this bill does little for the rights of gun owners and falls drastically short of their demands.
If this “licensed open carry” bill passes, gun owners will still have to pay expensive fees, take government-mandated classes, and jump through bureaucratic hoops to exercise a right guaranteed by both our state and federal Constitutions.
Alternatively, there are two Constitutional Carry bills in the House Judiciary Committee that have yet to receive a hearing that would act to restore the rights of gun owners, including their right to open carry.
Constitutional Carry House Bill 3039 sponsored by Representative Jonathon Hill and House Bill 3096 sponsored by Representative Bobby Cox would both allow anyone who can legally possess a firearm to legally carry said firearm for self-defense.
These bills would address the current reason for this hearing by making open carry legal, but also going a proper step further by removing unconstitutional licensing requirements.
Contrary to the objections of some, neither of these bills would do anything to remove the permit system, but instead Constitutional Carry leaves the permitting system fully intact and available for those who still wish to receive a CWP.
Right now 16 other states have Constitutional Carry in place, and multiple other states are very close to enacting it this year.
It seems that some lawmakers think that by passing this Licensed Open Carry bill gun owners will be appeased and stop asking for Constitutional Carry.
To be clear, gun owners are not going anywhere until our rights have been restored and Constitutional Carry is law.
To sum it up, pretending that “licensed open carry” is some great expansion of our Second Amendment rights is an insult to gun owners.
We are here to remind legislators that claiming Licensed Open Carry is the “best we can do” is simply unacceptable.
On behalf of the members and supporters of Palmetto Gun Rights, I urge you to stop wasting time promoting watered-down compromises that do little for our Second Amendment rights and instead work to pass Constitutional Carry bills H 3039 and H 3096.
We will inform our members of your subsequent actions regarding this issue.
Thank you for your time and consideration.