Opinion

Nikki Haley backs bill to allow carrying guns without permits, training

Nikki-Haley
Photo: The State

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley came out Tuesday in support of a bill to allow Palmetto State citizens to carry guns without a permit or training.

At a signing ceremony for a new law enabling licensed gun owners to carry concealed firearms into businesses that serve alcohol, she said she also supports a proposed Senate bill that would eliminate South Carolina’s permit and training requirements, according to The State.

The pending legislation, called the “Constitutional Carry Act,” is sponsored by state Sen. Lee Bright, R-Spartanburg, who noted that the Second Amendment “gives Americans the right to carry firearms without any government restrictions.” He called for the state to be more like Arizona, where gun ownership is not government-controlled.

“Criminals are dangerous, and I think that every resident should be allowed to protect themselves from criminals,” Haley told The State.

Currently, six states – Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Montana, Vermont and Wyoming – have “constitutional carry” laws on the books, according to National Review Online.

Haley pointed out that it is still illegal to drink alcohol and carry a gun.

“The idea of going into a restaurant and having to leave it in your car causes concern on whether it will be stolen,” she said, “because as a CWP [concealed weapons permit] holder, you are responsible for your gun.”

Bright’s bill faces stiff opposition from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Larry Martin, R-Pickens, who said current permitting requirements ensure that only “law-abiding citizens” get gun licenses and that they’re trained to use the weapon, according to The State.  A “host of criminal violations do not disqualify you for gun ownership in South Carolina,” Martin said, though criminals are barred by law from getting concealed weapons permits.

“Is it (carrying firearms) a right under our Constitution? Sure it is,” Martin said. “But it’s also a huge responsibility that we as citizens should respect.”

According to The Greenville Post, Martin is concerned that law enforcement officers would be at increased risk if Bright’s measure passes.

So despite the governor’s support, insiders believe Bright’s proposal isn’t likely to pass this session.

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Richard Berkow

Former political news reporter Richard Berkow lost his idealism in the Kennedy years, and his innocence in Vietnam, Lebanon, and the Soviet Union. He hasn’t mellowed since, and can be harassed at [email protected]

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