COLUMBIA, S.C. (Dec. 26, 2018) – A “Constitutional Carry” bill prefiled for the 2019 legislative session would make it legal for South Carolinians to carry a firearm without a license, fostering an environment hostile to federal gun control.

Sen. Shane R. Martin (R- Pauline) prefiled Senate Bill 139 (S.139) on Nov. 16. Under the proposed law, anyone who is legally allowed to own a gun could carry it without a state-issued license. Currently, South Carolina gun owners must first attend training through a certified South Carolina CWP instructor before they can get a concealed weapons permit.

The bill seeks to repeal numerous sections of state law.

At the same time, it imposes restrictions on where a person can carry a firearm, concealed or not. That includes police stations, courthouses, polling locations, daycare or preschools.


While permitless carry bills do not directly affect federal gun control, the widespread passage of permitless conceal carry laws in states subtly undermines federal efforts to regulate guns. As we’ve seen with marijuana and industrial hemp, a federal regulation becomes ineffective when states ignore it and pass laws encouraging the prohibited activity anyway.

The federal government lacks the enforcement power necessary to maintain its ban, and people will willingly take on the small risk of federal sanctions if they know the state will not interfere. This increases when the state actively encourages “the market.”

Less restrictive state gun laws will likely have a similar impact on federal gun laws. It will make it that much more difficult for the feds to enforce any future federal gun control, and increase the likelihood that states with few limits will simply refuse to cooperate with federal enforcement efforts.

State actions such as passing S.139 would lower barriers for those wanting to the option of defending themselves with firearms and encourages a “gun-friendly” environment that would make federal efforts to limit firearms that much more difficult.


S.139 has been referred to the Senate Committee on Judiciary where it must pass by a majority vote before moving forward in the legislative process. The 2019 legislative session begins Jan. 8.

TJ Martinell