Bill allows gun without permit

Proponents claim a right to protect

COLUMBIA --- A House panel today will take up a bill that would allow anyone who can legally own a firearm in the state to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

The move to loosen gun laws comes in the wake of the Jan. 8 Arizona shootings that killed six and left U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords recovering from a gunshot wound to the head, in addition to a Dec. 14 incident in Florida in which an armed man threatened school board members before he was fatally shot by security.

Rather than seeking to tighten gun restrictions, as some Democrats have urged President Obama to do on the federal level, South Carolina lawmakers are looking at how to make it easier to carry weapons for protection.

A House panel last month rejected efforts to give public officials more freedom to carry guns to protect themselves because gun-rights advocates said they shouldn't be singled out for special treatment. Instead, that House panel now will consider doing away with the permit requirements for carrying concealed weapons. The measure has 36 of the House's 123 members signed on as supporters and a few vocal opponents.

"People have a constitutional right by the Second Amendment to keep and bear -- not just keep, but bear -- arms for self protection," said state Rep. Mike Pitts, a Republican and retired Greenville police officer who introduced the bill Jan. 12. Pitts said that U.S. Supreme Court decisions have affirmed rights to carry guns for personal protection.

It's actually a trip to the Wild West, said opponent and state Rep. Joe Neal, a Hopkins Democrat.

"We have descended into the depths of madness," he said.

The legislation also would give concealed-weapons holders a break. For instance, they now can't go to a place that serves alcohol even if they're just eating a meal.

Pitts still wants to keep guns out of bars, but says they should be allowed in restaurants that serve alcohol, unless the business prohibits concealed weapons.

Concealed weapons permits would still be needed for people who travel to 17 states that recognize South Carolina's gun permits, including Alaska, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

Pitts said the looser gun law is needed because "the world is becoming a more and more dangerous place and law enforcement can't be everywhere."

Neal, however, said that the change would lead fewer people to get concealed weapons permits and go through the safety and background checks that go with them.

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oldfella 02/17/11 - 07:36 am
Great! I 100 percent totally

Great! I 100 percent totally agree with this bill. Why should the bad guys be the only ones to hide their guns? Because if you're going to commit a gun crime, it's going to remain concealed until the last second it's needed anyway - they have always had "concealed carry."
As for descending into "the depths of madness" that ship has sailed long ago. What is so "mad" about leveling the playing field for the good citizens? I'm betting big money this Dumocrat hasn't been a violent crime victim. By the way the gunslinging "Wild West" only lasted about thirty years before America got "civilized." So how is that working out for us? It can't get much worse, so maybe we can try something that expands versus limits freedoms for those of us who don't want to wring our hands and look over our shoulders every time we take a trip to the Racetrack store to buy milk. But of course if there's one mishap, every lib will scream that allowing easier open carry is a failure, ignoring the dozens of crimes that were prevented (can't prove what doesn't happen) from a multitude of potentially armed law abiding citizens walking among us.

strib1 02/17/11 - 01:21 pm
bad idea i think... an all

bad idea i think... an all for having a gun and keeping one , but for anybody to walk around when and where they want , nope.. this wont stop anybody i dont think.... locks are for honest people is th saying.....

Crime Reports and Rewards TV
Crime Reports and Rewards TV 02/17/11 - 09:21 pm
"Pitts said the looser gun

"Pitts said the looser gun law is needed because "the world is becoming a more and more dangerous place and law enforcement can't be everywhere."

When the good guys have better resources, they offset the arms held by the bad guys. Hint. Police admit the CRIMINALS have Bigger, Better, Badder guns than all of them combined by a mile. Any law that restrains good guys access to defense is a great advantage to thugs. It's like tearing the claws off cats then setting them among wolves. It's public endangerment not to freely allow defense. Besides for every bad guy that bites the dust, crime & taxes go down and cops live to go home instead to the morgue, for a while as seen on Comcast 103 & Knology 96 at 9pm

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