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NRA's permit push finds doubters locally

Sunday, May 4, 2014 3:43 PM
Last updated Monday, May 5, 2014 12:22 AM
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The National Rifle Asso­ciation wants concealed weapons permits issued in one state to be recognized in all others, but area firearm community members say that goal is likely unobtainable.

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Jimmy Munoz takes some time for target practice at Shooters Indoor Range and Gun Shop in Augusta. The NRA wants concealed weapons permits to be recognized across state lines.  TODD BENNETT/STAFF
Jimmy Munoz takes some time for target practice at Shooters Indoor Range and Gun Shop in Augusta. The NRA wants concealed weapons permits to be recognized across state lines.

At its national conference in Indianapolis in April, the NRA called on Congress to mandate that all weapons-carry permits be recognized by all other states, even those where local requirements differ.

Any move in Washington that calls for greater reciprocity among states would undoubtably allow Georgians to carry concealed weapons in South Carolina, which currently doesn’t recognize the Georgia Weapons Carry Permit. South Carolina doesn’t issue permits to non-residents, who must own land in the state before they can apply for a permit.

“On the Georgia side of the line, all there is is a background check,” said Buddy Lichty, the owner of Shooters Indoor Range and Gun Shop in Augusta. “There’s no qualification. There no class. That’s probably the primary reason that Georgia and South Carolina (permits) don’t reciprocate.”

Though Georgia doesn’t recognize permits issued by South Carolina, residents of the Palmetto State can still carry concealed weapons in Georgia by obtaining a non-resident permit in a state that does issue a permit recognized by Georgia, such as Utah or Florida.

Chris Medlin, the owner and primary instructor of Your Best Defense in Aiken, said the differences between gun laws in Georgia and South Carolina are proof enough that a
compromise among all the states, particularly ones that don’t recognize any weapons permits from another state, is highly unlikely.
While some activists say granting reciprocity would be no different than how states recognize out-of-state driver’s licenses, Medlin said, the difference in driving laws from state to state is marginal. Gun laws are a different beast, he said.

“The mindset of the people and the legislators in those states, like California, is so drastically different from the mindset of the people in South Carolina and Georgia,” he said. “There is no way they would ever accept our kind of standards, and there’s no way people in Georgia or South Carolina would ever tolerate the restrictions that those states have. It would never happen.”

Medlin said bringing the federal government into the fold is ill-advised.

“The federal government getting involved and mandating the states to do something like that opens the door (to) the federal government forcing states to recognize other things that aren’t allowed in others, such as Colorado
legalizing (recreational) marijuana,” he said.
Lichty said he would like to one day see reciprocity among all of the states but believes it can happen only if states like Georgia require some form of formal training before issuing permits.

“I am for carrying deadly force legally,” he said. “But I think for anybody who wants to carry, it’s a huge responsibility for them to be qualified to do.”

Even if the standards change in Georgia, Lichty said it could be years before more states recognize each other’s permits.

In the meantime, Medlin said responsible gun owners and permit holders should research the laws of other states before traveling through them.

“Before you carry a gun or buy a gun for self-defense, you should do some research and check what the rules are for the state that you live in or the state that you’re going to on where you can carry a gun and where you can’t,” he said. “Some parts of the country expect you to be climbing out of your back window when someone is kicking your door in. Luckily, in the Southeast, we don’t have to. But if you’re in that part of the country, saying, ‘I didn’t know,’ isn’t an excuse.”


IN GEORGIA: The application process is as simple as paying the $79.25 application fee and filling out paperwork. Applicants are fingerprinted and photographed, and the process takes roughly 15 minutes to complete. After a mandatory background check by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, the county’s probate judge signs off on the permit, which is received by mail in about two weeks.

IN SOUTH CAROLINA: Permit hopefuls must attend an eight-hour course taught by a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division-certified concealed weapons permit instructor before they begin the application process, said Chris Medlin, the owner and primary instructor of Your Best Defense in Aiken.

Courses cost about $100 and require students to pass a written test on state laws and demonstrate the ability to load and fire a handgun. After passing the course, applicants can submit their paperwork – which includes proof of training, fingerprints and a $50 application fee – to SLED, which issues a permit within 90 days.

– Travis Highfield, staff writer

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itsanotherday1 05/04/14 - 10:20 pm
It is easy enough to resolve.

It is easy enough to resolve. Have a national standard for a universal license. If you take the safety and training course, you get a reciprocity license. If you don't, you are stuck with a state license.

Personally, I don't worry about it as I don't anticipate a situation where I would be caught carrying in SC.

oldredneckman96 05/04/14 - 10:44 pm
One Nation

We have a National “carry” permit, it is our Constitution, where this is spelled out very nicely. Will you be judged by 12 or carried by 6? Stand up people, you and I are “We the People.” The right to bear arms will not be infringed, that means open carry or not.

Little Lamb
Little Lamb 05/05/14 - 07:33 am

It is strange how this story made the Most Discussed list with only one comment. And at this moment it is ahead of the cigarette butt litter article which has four or five comments.

deestafford 05/05/14 - 08:30 am
I'm split on this but come down on..

I'm split on this but come down on the side to continue as is.

I would like the ability to easily carry in every state but do not want anymore involvement by the feds in anything...especially the Second Amendment area. Give the politicians a chance to get their noses in the tent and pretty soon their entire bodies as well as the rest of their families are in there with you taking over.

Bizkit 05/05/14 - 12:18 pm
I bet the forefather's NEVER

I bet the forefather's NEVER envisioned a day when the Government would restrict the right to bear arms. Really, no matter what a gun does, constitutionally we all should have a right to arms in any state because it is federal law-the constitution. It doesn't say guns can be regulated by States, like States have a right to regulate abortion, but the right shall not be "infringed". Seems any state law that infringes on gun ownership in anyway is unconstitutional and the SCOTUS should support that since they have already stated it is an individual right. Really if you think about the number of guns in the US the number of crimes or accidents is relatively low. We regulate alcohol and alcohol related deaths exceeds that of guns. You would think that most Americans are criminals and they shouldn't have a gun-which criminals are a minority and the vast majority of owners don't own or use guns for any illegal activity. Why ban or restrict any citizen from a freedom that is constitutionally protected? Why should we allow a freedom like gay marriage that isn't mentioned in the constitution nor is their any logical reason to allow it-other than people who support freedom for ALL!!!!!!!!

Brad Owens
Brad Owens 05/05/14 - 09:13 am
One guy?

You interview ONE guy and all of the sudden it becomes "doubts"... also, this "expert" lost all credibility when he made a reference to medicinal marijuana. REALLY? That is why you are opposed to having everyone recognized each others permits? Is because there might be reciprocity on medical treatments too? Why not just throw in gay marriage as a third reason and have a complete caricature of what a 2nd Amendment supporter should look like to the outside world.

This is one of the rare instances where the Interstate Commerce might actually allow federal intervention between the states to help a situation.

Either way, this article is poorly researched and written based of off just a couple of opinions. Austin Rhodes has talked about a universal permit for many years; why not interview him? What about the actual NRA rep for the area? How about the many gun rights groups reps in the area that are helping in this push?

Gun shop owner and a guy who get paid to teach the course... sounds reasonable to me.


raul 05/05/14 - 09:28 am
@deestafford. Good point

@deestafford. Good point about the Feds.

seenitB4 05/05/14 - 09:51 am
Universal permit

Sounds good to me...btw, what is the fee for carrying in SC w/o permit?

Sweet son
Sweet son 05/05/14 - 11:28 am
Hey Brad,

it did seem kinda one sided towards South Carolina. It was like the SC guy was looking down his nose at us like we were idiots. He doesn't think we are smart enough or safe enough to carry firearms.

Got to give it to them they are in front of us on this one. So what!

Not on topic but everytime I feel like the SC guys are on us about anything I always have to mention the fact that "people in SC can't drive!" LOL!

LLArms 05/05/14 - 11:32 am
Permits are unconstitutional

Permits are unconstitutional to begin with.

There should be no permits and all states should recognize the 2A properly.

Problem solved.

nocnoc 05/05/14 - 12:06 pm

Having a Nationwide standard opens the door to the FED's dictating the standards. Instead of the States.

State Control is the key to why so much progress has been accomplished in Concealed Carry ON-DEMAND permits.

If the FED's get a finger in it we are screwed.


Brad Owens
Brad Owens 05/05/14 - 12:23 pm

Well depending on the who the next President is, they may get the rights expanded.. isn't that crazy? We need our "rights" to be expanded by legislation..

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