Since the last time I wrote on H. 3930, available here, the bill has moved from the House to the Senate in the SC General Assembly.
In the House
H. 3930 came up for a floor debate in the House where it was hotly discussed. The House considered three amendments, and they adopted the Committee Amendment and the Pitts Amendment. This fixed one constitutional problem in the bill and introduced an increased penalty for gun owners who miss a “No Concealable Weapons” sign. Thus the amendments were a mixed result in the House.
Upon voting, the bill garnered the support of 64 Representatives to pass 64 to 46. The vote was largely along party lines, but some Republicans, such as Gaffney’s Representative Moss, voted against the bill. And some Democrats, such as Marion’s Representative Atkinson, voted for the bill.
This sent the bill to the Senate.
In the Senate
The Senate has officially taken no action with the bill after the routine assignment to the Judiciary Committee.
However, a sub-committee of the Judiciary Committee did consider a similar Senate bill, S. 449. This bill was considered by a five person panel including Republican Senators Rice, Goldfinch, and Senn and Democrat Senators Malloy and Fanning.
After two public hearings, the Senate sub-committee took a vote on the bill and passed it, 3 to 1 with 1 abstention. The bill will now head to the full committee. Senators Rice, Goldfinch, and Malloy supported the bill, while Republican Senator Senn was the sole vote against the bill.
Looking to the Future
The Legislature Calendar has come to a close for this year. This was the first year in a two year session, and the General Assembly will pick up in 2018 where it left off. That means in January the Senate Judiciary Committee will have the task of holding a meeting on this bill and deciding whether or not to suggest the entire Senate consider the bill.
All indications are that this will be a tough fight. Senator Senn stands by her vote and does not wish to see this bill pass because police organizations are against the bill. Senator Malloy is ultimately against the bill, but he wanted the full committee to consider the merits of the legislation. We owe him a thank you for getting this out of sub-committee, and it is worth asking for his continued support.
The Senate, if it truly wants to pass this legislation into law, will substitute H. 3930 for S. 449 to shorten the future hurdles of the bill. However, those who don’t want to see this become law, but who also don’t want to vote against gun rights, may insist upon using S. 449 which will require more time in the House before the bill could become law.
Regardless, there is a fight ahead if the bill is to move forward. Watch closely, and we shall see where our General Assembly stands on the natural right of self defense.