South Carolina’s new “open carry with training” law is proving to be popular with residents, in large part because the law removes the state-mandated fees to acquire a concealed carry license. We haven’t actually seen a big increase in the number of South Carolinians choosing to carry openly instead of concealed, though there has been at least one high profile politician taking advantage of the ability to legally do so; freshman representative Nancy Mace was proudly sporting a pistol on her hip at a weekend meeting of the Dorchester County Republicans this past weekend.
South Carolina website FITS News was the first to report on Mace’s attendance at the meeting, noting that the congresswoman may have been trying to show off her conservative credentials by openly carrying at the gathering.
As this news outlet has frequently noted, Mace is facing a revolt on her far right flank after slamming former U.S. president Donald Trump for his alleged role in inciting the mob violence that went down at the U.S. capitol on January 6, 2021.
“Everything that he’s worked for … his entire legacy – was wiped out yesterday,” Mace said the day after the bloody assault on the capitol.
Shortly thereafter, though, she changed her tune.
Sound familiar? It should …
Mace wore her pistol during a media availability held prior to the rally – as well as during her speech to the assembled party faithful.
Mace has now drawn two primary opponents in next year’s elections, and while I don’t know how much her open carry outing helped with voters, I’m pretty sure it didn’t do any harm. And while Mace chose to display her pistol this weekend, according to the congresswoman she’s been carrying concealed for several months now.
On Memorial Day, Rep. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., woke up to a call from the police.
“They wanted to know if I was home, and if I knew my house had been vandalized,” said Mace, standing on the porch of her Charleston home.
The freshman congresswoman said she was out of town when a vandal or vandals allegedly scrawled profanity and anarchist symbols in black spray paint on her property.
… A week after the incident, Mace posted on her personal Twitter page – “Buying another firearm. This one to carry.”
“I now go to the gun range almost weekly to practice shooting,” she said.
Mace said this is not the first time she has been targeted. In October 2020, a month before narrowly defeating Democrat incumbent Joe Cunningham, she reported that her car had been keyed. After receiving death threats in December, she got a concealed weapons permit.
“It doesn’t feel good that I feel like I have to look behind my shoulder every day. It doesn’t feel safe,” said Mace. “I carry a gun wherever I go today. Wherever I’m allowed to, I do carry.”
Not only is that understandable, I’d say it’s commendable, as is Mace’s decision to teach her children about real gun safety. And Mace is far from the only South Carolinian embracing her Second Amendment rights. Still, even with the new open carry law in place, one firearms instructor in South Carolina says most of the gun owners he knows are choosing to conceal their firearm.
“They don’t like the idea of somebody knowing that they have a firearm and I kind of encourage concealed carry,” said [Chris] McLendon. “With the gun out in the open, you’ll be concerned about it for the first three of four months. As time goes on, you get used to it being there, and you kind of get used to it and become complacent and you forget about it. Then you are reaching up in the store to grab something and someone snatches your gun from you.”
I’m guessing that Mace wasn’t too concerned about that happening at a Republican get-together. Instead, as she fights for her political survival she wanted to make a point about her support for the Second Amendment not being merely hypothetical. As far as the politics goes, it’s a good move, but I’m curious to see if Mace will go further and publicly embrace the calls for South Carolina to join the ranks of the Constitutional Carry states as we get closer to next year’s midterm elections.