South Carolina City Pushing New Ban On Open Carry

(AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Concealed carry licensees in South Carolina can now choose to openly carry if they’d like, thanks to the state’s “open carry with training” law that took effect earlier this month, but one city is already moving to ban the practice at permitted events. On Monday evening, the city council in Greenville, South Carolina gave preliminary approval to an ordinance that would prohibit the open carrying of firearms on public property during events that require a city permit, including political demonstrations.

That includes events like runs and walks, such as the Reedy River Run, and major festivals like Fall for Greenville as well as weekly events like Main Street Fridays and T.D. Saturday Market, according to a city press release.

The ordinance proposes the same open-carry restrictions at picketing events. City law would require picketers to obtain a permit at no charge in the same manner as the existing written notice-of-intent-to-picket process.

According to the city of Greenville’s press release, the change would align permitted city events with other local events like sporting events, concerts and large-scale functions at local venues like Bon Secours Wellness Arena, the Peace Center and Fluor Field — all of which prohibit openly carried firearms.

This seems like a solution in search of a problem, frankly. The proposed ordinance wouldn’t forbid the carrying of firearms at permitted events, only openly carried guns, so I’m not sure what the city council thinks they’re accomplishing here. This is also another local gun control ordinance aimed squarely at those who possess a valid carry license, as opposed to the gangs and drug dealers who are driving the rise in violent crime across the state.

The violent crime rate during 2020 was so alarming it prompted State Law Enforcement Division Chief Mark Keel to hold his second ever news conference since taking the post in 2011.

Keel cited preliminary statistics that showed South Carolina recorded the highest number of homicides since record keeping began in 1960, and said his agency’s analysis showed 2021 could be an even more violent year than 2020 if the current trend holds.

The state’s top cop pointed squarely at gang and drug activity for the sharp spike in violence.

“Our communities themselves are victims of drugs being brought into their neighborhoods,” Keel said. “No family who’s lost a loved one … can be told that there are no victims in drug crimes.”

Many Democratic officials and gun control activists in South Carolina have been doing their best over the past few months to convince residents to be terrified about the state’s new open carry law, which they claim will lead to even more shootings and homicides (though they haven’t been able to explain why they believe that’s the case). The vote by the Greenville City Council is a part of the pushback from the anti-gun crowd, and we’re likely to see similar moves in other Democratic strongholds like Charleston and Columbia in the weeks ahead. Rather than addressing the real drivers of violent crime, the gun control lobby and their allies in office are wasting time and resources by attempting to criminalize open carry during permitted events; not because it will make anyone safer, but simply because they can.

Nov 26, 2021 10:30 AM ET