Open carry gun law in South Carolina brings concerns over public safety, gun shop instructor worried

South Carolina Open Carry With Training Law goes into effect on August 15 and not many business owners are aware of what it really means.

“It changes radically on August 15, so what are we going to do,” concealed weapons permit class instructor at ATP gun shop in Summerville William Hayes said.

Hayes says that he is concerned over the public safety and possible confrontations as not many business owners are well informed about the law.

Starting August 15, people with CWP licenses will be allowed to openly carry firearms in South Carolina in most situations. This means that people with CWP licenses can walk into businesses with their gun visibly showing.

“When I ask the managers about open carry, which becomes law on August 15, none of them know it’s coming. They all look at me like, what?” he said.

“We have crumbling infrastructure, unclean water, and now what we’re going to have in less than a month now is individuals being able to openly carry a firearm, like we’re living in the wild west,” said Berkeley and Charleston County representative JA Moore.

Those having a CWP license will have to undergo a new de-escalation training in order to be eligible to carry their guns in public, but Hayes says this kind of training takes at least two days, while he and other instructors only have 8 hours a day.

“De-escalation is not easy to teach. You can teach de-escalation by just telling them, this is what you do to de-escalate but the unfortunate thing is that some people’s view of de-escalation is shoot hem first, before they shoot you,” said Hayes.

Meanwhile, some state officials are claiming that the open carry gun law will lead to less confrontations and will actually improve public’s safety. One of them is GOP state Senator Larry Grooms who has sponsored several open carry guns over the years.

“I fall on the side that having open carry will probably lessen he chance of confrontation. The ones you have to worry about aren’t the ones who obey they law, that would be the ones who have gone through training and have background checks to open carry. It’s the criminals that you have to worry about. When the criminals know that there are more folks carrying weapons, they’re probably less like to use theirs,” said Grooms.

Since the law is coming into force very soon, the best way to avoid unwanted confrontations and misunderstandings is people to get informed in a timely manner, Hayes added.

You can read the full law here.

Monica Doyle


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