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South Carolina might allow guns in bars

Monday, Jan. 20, 2014 7:17 AM
Last updated 7:56 PM
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COLUMBIA -- Pistols on hips, South Carolina gun owners appear ready to join their Georgia counterparts at the bar.

The S.C. Senate approved a bill that would allow concealed weapon permit holders to bring their firearm into South Carolina bars and restaurants that serve alcohol, as long they don’t drink.

The S.C. House is likely to pass the legislation this month. Under the bill, S. 308, business owners would be allowed to post a no-guns sign on their establishment.

Regionally, Georgia has led the way on guns-in-bars.

In 2008, the state legislature allowed people to carry firearms into restaurants, as long as they didn’t drink while armed. Today it’s OK to bring guns into both restaurants and bars in Georgia — and partake of adult beverages.

“It is not against the law to drink while carrying in either place, provided that you have permission from the bar owner,” said Jerry Henry, executive director of GeorgiaCarry.Org, Inc.

“The only thing against guns and alcohol is that it is against the law to discharge a firearm if one is drunk,” he added.

During South Carolina’s ongoing debate over allowing firearms where alcohol is consumed, some Democrats tried to stop the loosening of the law, or at least limit the changes to come.

One of them was Sen. John Scott, a Democrat from Columbia.

“Alcohol and guns just don’t mix. There may be another family in there, and some persons end up in an altercation, and an innocent bystander could get killed,” said the lawmaker.

“But if you’re got the gun in your car, you’ve got a chance to cool off and possibly walk away from it all.”

Supporters of the change say it’s more secure and more convenient for a gun owner to keep his firearm on him when visiting a bar or restaurant than it is to leave the weapon in a parked automobile.

Scott said locking the weapon in the glove box of a locked automobile should be plenty secure.

Meanwhile, Henry of GeorgiaCarry.Org said his state hasn’t encountered the type of scene opponents warned about.

“We have had zero incidents of law abiding citizens being in any ‘O.K. Corral shootouts,’ as predicted by the gun prohibitionists,” he said.

Georgia’s southern neighbor has drawn more attention over gun violence lately. Still, the latest fatal shooting in Florida to capture national disbelief took place in a movie theater, not a bar. The alleged shooter objected to the victim’s texting. Popcorn was reportedly thrown, but no alcohol has been mentioned.

In Florida, guns in bars are still prohibited. And there are no bills pending like South Carolina’s.

“It’s definitely something we’d like to see,” said Sean Caranna, executive director of Florida Carry, of South Carolina’s proposal.

One reason? He pointed to the experience of Nikki Goeser, whose husband was fatally shot by a man in a bar in Tennessee. Goeser now crusades for expanding gun rights.

But the South Carolina senator believes legalizing firearms in bars invites more violence.

“Where are we going with this?” wondered Scott. “What message are we sending?”

Comments (13) Add comment
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seenitB4
86958
Points
seenitB4 01/20/14 - 08:47 am
3
3
Guns in bars

I would walk lightly here....drinking & guns don't mix well.

OJP
6634
Points
OJP 01/20/14 - 08:55 am
2
3
This will end well.

Were I a bar owner in SC, I'd fight this tooth and nail.

Marinerman1
4817
Points
Marinerman1 01/20/14 - 10:04 am
3
3
Only If YOU Are The Designated Driver

Only a designated driver (meaning no drinking allowed) should EVER be allowed to carry inside a bar. Bad combination otherwise.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 01/20/14 - 10:14 am
4
0
There is alot of difference

There is alot of difference from bar to bar. Some should have no problems. Some will have to actively work toward making sure nobody gets blasted over something dumb. Freedom isn't designed for your fancy though. It's a responsibility to uphold and endeavor.

thauch12
6584
Points
thauch12 01/20/14 - 10:56 am
4
1
Logical?

You can already kill people by smoking in bars...why not add guns to the mix?! There's no way this could end badly...said noone ever.

Little Lamb
45870
Points
Little Lamb 01/20/14 - 11:10 am
3
1
TV

Guns in bars seemed to work out well in the wild west, at least on Gunsmoke, Wyatt Earp, and High Chapparal.

dwb619
93406
Points
dwb619 01/20/14 - 11:56 am
1
3
Restaurant or bar

I can understand the intent for a full service restaurant with bar.
You can have a meal without alcohol. Just don't get the point about a bar,it's business is solely to sell alcohol.
I have had a CWP since it's inception, and have seen several "tweeks" to the law.
I can't rationalize this one.

nocnoc
42470
Points
nocnoc 01/20/14 - 02:24 pm
3
1
I am pro-gun

But I am not sure about this.

Guns and some road house bars don't mix.

But again allowing a CC weapon permit holder in a Bar/Restaurant
eg. Applebees's is another matter.

dichotomy
32856
Points
dichotomy 01/20/14 - 02:54 pm
6
0
It's not the ones with a

It's not the ones with a permit that I worry about in a bar. It's the convicted felons that cannot get a permit but have been carrying their weapons into bars and everywhere else that worry me. They don't care what the laws, the signs, or the bar owners say.

SRD
441
Points
SRD 01/20/14 - 02:55 pm
4
0
Thugs target the weak

Thugs always target the weak and defenseless. I think this is a good idea, and an ounce of prevention is worth it. Armed criminals prey on the weak and unarmed and I believe this law should pass. CWP holders are normally more responsible gun owners, especially in SC where you have to take a safety and handling course. I would be more leery in a GA bar where CWP holders can get a license with only a back ground check.

Dixieman
14943
Points
Dixieman 01/20/14 - 03:22 pm
5
1
Well, let's add smoking to the list of permitted activities.

Then I will go over to SC and open a bar with the clever name of "Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms".

Riverman1
83725
Points
Riverman1 01/20/14 - 07:28 pm
4
1
Will Cut Down On Fights

It will cut down on fighting in bars. No one is going to throw the first punch if he may get shot.

oldredneckman96
5095
Points
oldredneckman96 01/20/14 - 08:16 pm
2
1
CWP
Unpublished

If the weapon is concealed, how does anyone know you have one? Ain’t that the point? What if you just strap a hogleg on your side, open and legal? I do agree with most here, it will level the playing field with smokers lighting up, thus, it will thin out the shallow end of the gene pool. It might just make going to a bar fun again.

burninater
9580
Points
burninater 01/21/14 - 01:35 am
1
1
"It's not the ones with a

"It's not the ones with a permit that I worry about in a bar. It's the convicted felons that cannot get a permit but have been carrying their weapons into bars and everywhere else that worry me."
-------
Huh? The Constitution says the right to bear arms "Shall not be infringed". Nowhere does it say "Shall not be infringed unless said individual has been convicted of committing a felony".

It's their Constitutional right. You can't regulate away a Constitutional right ...

Right?

Humble Angela
41338
Points
Humble Angela 01/21/14 - 08:25 am
1
0
How many illegal shootings
Unpublished

How many illegal shootings have been committed by licensed carriers in this state? I agree that it's not the one's that have a permit that you need to worry about. Do you really think that a law forbidding a weapon will stop someone from using one illegal? Makes no logical sense.

RichmanA2
126
Points
RichmanA2 01/21/14 - 06:44 pm
1
0
Of all the problems that need
Unpublished

Of all the problems that need fixing in SC, this is what is put on the referendum? All who brought this to the docket need to be fired immediately.

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