SC Makes Open Carry A Top Priority

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

If given my druthers, I’d probably never open carry a firearm outside of some form of pro-gun demonstration. I don’t see any advantage to it besides politics and even then, I personally believe that only goes so far.

That said, the right to do it should be unquestioned. I may not believe in doing it myself, but I’ll fight to my last breath to defend some else’s right to make a different decision.

Unfortunately, though, that right isn’t unquestioned. It’s downright illegal in far too many places.

Now, one state looks to rectify that.

Protecting or expanding our unique American liberties – freedom of speech, religion, gun ownership rights – should be on the minds of legislators considering new or revised laws along with protecting public health and safety.

Chief Mark Keel of the State Law Enforcement Division put these concerns in perspective in addressing a proposed expansion of gun rights. The S.C. House measure (H. 3094) “would allow trained concealed weapons permit holders to carry those guns in the open,” he said in an article by Maayan Schechter and John Monk of The State newspaper.

“I’m a Second Amendment guy. Nobody believes any stronger than I do in the right to bear arms,” Keel said. In South Carolina and other Second Amendment Central places, it is necessary to establish one’s bona fide on rights. The Sun News Editorial Board is there, make no mistake.

SAFETY CONCERNS

Keel has “great concerns” about public safety: “I wonder how it will be in the summer time when people are strolling down Ocean Boulevard on peak weekends wearing guns openly, not to mention people openly carrying during Harley Week or Memorial Week and crowded country music festivals where there’s alcohol involved.”

Well, asking this question makes me wonder just how much of a Second Amendment guy you really are, Chief Keel.

After all, while I don’t agree with open carry from a more tactical standpoint, I do believe that such actions fall within the plain wording of the Second Amendment. Further, let’s not delude ourselves, there are already people carrying at all of these events Keel cites. The difference is whether clothing is hiding it or not.

That t-shirt or jacket isn’t enough to defuse a situation where someone gets angry enough to be stupid.

Further, we have open carry in plenty of other states. South Carolina doesn’t have a monopoly on public events like this and guess what’s happened at those other events?

Nothing.

Not a damn thing.

Look, I get the concern. Even if you trust the guy with the permit, you may not trust the guy who goes for his gun due to obvious reasons, but thus far, it’s been a non-factor in every other state. Is Keel saying that South Carolinians are especially unstable, that they’re even less likely to obey the law in the presence of a firearm?

Or is he allowing his own fears and prejudices to cloud the issue?

If he’s really a Second Amendment advocate, then maybe he should ask around about how this works in other states. He’d soon learn that his concerns are non-issues.

Unless, of course, he’s not interested in learning that.

Mar 03, 2021 10:30 AM ET