Renewed push for ‘constitutional carry’ in South Carolina

Updated: Mar. 1, 2019 at 7:08 PM EST
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COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Brad O’Neil is the part-owner of the Gun Vault in Pontiac.

He said he doesn’t see anything wrong with the renewed push for permit-less carry or ‘constitutional carry’ in South Carolina.

“The Constitution states the right to keep and bear arms. Which in itself means you can keep and bear arms,” O’Neil said.

There are bills filed at the State House that would allow anyone who can legally purchase a gun, to carry it on public places that permit it.

The bills also lay out some restrictions on where a firearm can be carried, openly or concealed. Those include police stations, polling locations on Election Day, courthouses and daycares.

Right now in South Carolina, gun owners must first attend training through a certified state concealed weapon permit instructor before they can carry. O’Neil said the majority of his customers have a concealed weapon permit. “I don’t think it will change a whole lot. Other than the fact that an individual will get to carry their weapon freely.”

Members of the Lowcountry Students for Political Action say they are opposed to the legislation. Lauren Haselden said, “Anyone carrying a gun without training is a danger to everyone around them because they may not know the gun laws, how to properly store it or carry it properly with them.”

The group formed after the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, Florida, last year. Pamela Gonzalez said, “We care about it because it’s a direct danger to us. We don’t need any more danger than we’ve been put to risk too.”

The Gun Vault said if ‘constitutional carry’ is enacted in South Carolina, they will continue to recommend training for new gun owners so they can become familiar with gun safety and gun laws in the state.

O’Neil said he doesn’t believe ‘constitutional carry’ will make South Carolina dangerous. “In one-way shape or more. Everyone still needs to be approved with a background check before they leave this premises with a firearm.”

According to SLED, as of January 1, 2019, there are 459,793 active concealed weapon permits in South Carolina.

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