So What’s the Big Deal about the “No Concealable Weapons Allowed” Signs?
- By: mjgoodwin
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So What’s the Big Deal about the No Concealable Weapons Allowed Sign?
**A Concealed Weapons Permit Primer for South Carolina**
By M. J. Goodwin
Twice this week, I have been dismayed to see “No Concealable Weapons Allowed” signs at two local restaurants. These signs are, I am sure, well intentioned. I can only suppose that the person who put up the signs believes that by doing so, he or she is making his or her business safe from gun violence. Nothing could be further from the truth.
A little background: South Carolina allows its citizens to obtain a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP). In order to get a CWP and the right to carry a gun LEGALLY, a person must complete a handgun education course and demonstrate proficiency in the use of the weapon. Background checks and finger printing are also done as part of the CWP application process. In short, a criminal cannot get a CWP. See South Carolina Code Section 23-31-210 through 215.
On February 11, 2014, the law was amended to provide that a person with a CWP may carry a concealed weapon into a business that serves alcohol, but may not consume any alcohol. None. Zero. This is more restrictive than the laws that allow consumption of alcohol prior to driving a motor vehicle. See South Carolina Code Section 16-23-465.
However, a business owner may post a “No Concealable Weapons Allowed” sign at the entrance to any business and if a CWP holder carries a gun into that business, the CWP holder may be charged with a violation of the law. It is true that many of the businesses posting these signs are restaurants with bars in them and that guns could not be carried their legally prior to February 11, 2014. The important difference, in my opinion, is that now there is a public acknowledgement that these businesses are opting out of the law allowing concealed carry. One would not put a “no guns here” sign on one’s own home! This is a similar folly.
What that sign being posted tells me is that the business owner is too naïve to understand the nature of criminals and too ignorant to educate himself. A “gun-free zone” is inherently unsafe. It is an advertisement to those who want to do harm that nobody in the area is armed and able to defend themselves. It provides an instant pool of victims.
The criminal will not stop and say to himself “oh, let me leave this gun in the car and rob these people with my hands.” The criminal will not comply with the sign. The criminal, by his very nature and definition, breaks the law.
Law-abiding CWP holders, however, have gone out of their way to follow the law. They have gone out of their way to educate themselves on firearm safety and to demonstrate proficiency with the weapon. It is an insult to these citizens to post the “No Concealable Weapons Allowed” sign. But more importantly, it is dangerous to everyone in that business.
Who is responsible for your safety? Ultimately: you are. The business owner has a right to put up that sign, but as a CWP holder, you have an obligation to not do business there. Only by protesting with your wallet and by spreading the word will you ever succeed in getting the sign taken down and improving the safety of the patrons and employees of the business. I have well meaning, good hearted friends who will say “why do you need a gun to go out to eat?” To them, I say nobody knows ahead of time when they will become a victim of crime. To ask a person who has trained to protect herself to leave her gun behind is unconscionable. Ask Suzanna Hupp about that. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M1u0Byq5Qis
So, in the spirit of education, the following businesses in Anderson, South Carolina currently have “No Concealable Weapons Allowed” signs posted:
- J. Peters (both downtown and Interstate Blvd locations);
- Catch and Fetch Seafood Company on Greenville Street
- Johnny Angell’s on Main Street
- Regal Cinema on Interstate Boulevard.
Certainly these businesses have a right to post their sign. Certainly we all have a right to express an opinion about those signs and to vote with our patronage or lack thereof
There was a similar sign up in the Century movie theatre in Aurora, Colorado on July 20, 2012. Nobody, but the bad guy, had a gun when the “Joker” burst in and shot 82 people, 12 of whom died. There are other similar stories of “gun free” zones and the violence they attract. So whether you have a CWP or not, think about it before you patronize a business where you and your family are not permitted to address your own safety. .