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Restaurants or wild west saloons? SC passes concealed weapons bill

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This Tuesday, February 11, 2014, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will sign into law the Concealed Carry Reform Bill. This bill will allow people with a concealed firearms license to carry their weapons with them into bars and restaurants. This despite the fact that officer-involved related shootings are on the increase in South Carolina. There have already been seven officer-involved shootings in South Carolina in 2014 alone. According to Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott, “It’s a culture that’s been created where people use guns to solve a problem.”

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There have been many concerns from various South Carolina legislators regarding this bill. State representative Walt McLeod, D-Newberry said, “Booze, beer and wine is powerful stuff. It causes people to do things they wouldn’t ordinarily do.” Proponents of the bill say the fear of fines and penalties will help prevent any problems. Concealed weapons carriers must adhere to an honor system that precludes them from drinking any alcoholic beverages when they are armed in restaurants or bars. Read more of the debates from both sides in this article from The State newspaper.

While bars are normally frequented by adults, many are concerned because the bill allows concealed weapons to be carried in bars and restaurants. Families with children are frequently seen dining in restaurants like Ruby Tuesdays, Applebee’s, Fatz, Hooters, and other chains that have bars, where weapons would be allowed. The bill does allow for owners of an establishment to post a sign banning weapons, but then again the restaurant staff will have to rely on the patrons to comply since customers will not be searched to see if they are carrying concealed weapons before ordering an alcoholic beverage.

Gov. Nikki Haley pushed hard for the passage of the Concealed Carry Reform Bill. This past Christmas she spread the news of her excitement that “Santa” had given her a Berretta PX4 Storm. You can read more about what she called a “good time” at target practice in this ABC News article. She posted an open invitation on her Facebook page for everyone to join her in the Statehouse lobby for the signing of the bill this Tuesday at 10:30am.

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