by Dan Gibson
What I love about South Carolina: gun advocates there are arguing against a law that would allow guns in day-care centers...because it doesn't go far enough to allow out-of-state gun owners and those under 18 to have their guns in church. The injustice!
Legislation weaving its way through the House of Representatives would increase the number of places that legal gun owners can carry their guns to include restaurants, day-care centers and churches.
“It puts criminals on the defense,” said state Rep. Thad Viers, R-Horry, a co-sponsor of the bill and the owner of about 25 firearms and a concealed weapons permit. “Criminals don’t know if you’re carrying or not.”
If it passes, the bill will become just one of many pro-gun bills to win legislative approval in South Carolina — a state where being pro-gun is a priority for Republican and Democratic lawmakers.
“It’s cultural,” said state Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, who also has a concealed weapons permit.
And S.C. voters love it, adds a USC professor, noting 89 percent voted last fall to make hunting a constitutional right.
In fact, in South Carolina, the fights come when gun advocates say proposals don’t go far enough.
Take the bill Viers amended.
Some gun advocates, including GrassRoots South Carolina, oppose an amended version of his bill, saying it violates the constitutional rights of gun owners by limiting the places that out-of-staters and young adults can carry their guns.
“While the (amended) bill might make it better for people in South Carolina, it’s going to be a lot worse for others, including those visiting us,” said Ed Kelleher, president of GrassRoots South Carolina. “We depend on tourism here, and this has chilling effect on that.”