On Wednesday the South Carolina Senate Judiciary Subcommittee passed Senate Bill 308, which was introduced by Senator Sean Bennett (R-38). Senators Bennett, Shealy, Grooms, Hembree, L. Martin, Massey, Campbell, Turner, Thurmond, Bryant, Verdin, S. Martin, Davis and Bright were all sponsors on the legislation. The bill would effectively allow concealed weapon permit (CWP) permit holders to carry their weapons into establishments that serve alcohol as long as they were not consuming.
The legislation is a critical self-defense reform that would remove the prohibition on a Concealed Weapon Permit (CWP) holder carrying a concealed firearm into a restaurant licensed to serve alcohol.
The amended legislation reads:
Section 16-23-465 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
"Section 16-23-465. In addition to the penalties provided for by Sections 16-11-330, 16-11-620, and 16-23-460, 23-31-220 and by Article 1 of Chapter 23 of Title 16, a person is guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than two thousand dollars, or both, if that person:
(1) carries a firearm into a business that sells alcoholic liquor, beer, or wine for consumption on the premises and at the time of the offense, notice of the prohibition of firearms was clearly and conspicuously posted in accordance with Section 23-31-220;
(2) carries a firearm into a business that sells alcoholic liquor, beer, or wine for consumption on the premises and refuses to leave or to remove the firearm from the premises when asked to do so by a person legally in control of the premises; or
(3) consumes alcohol while carrying a firearm in a business that sells alcoholic liquor, beer, or wine for consumption on the premises."
Under S. 308, a permit holder would still be prohibited from consuming alcohol while in the restaurant if he or she is carrying a concealed firearm for personal protection.
This would be a significant move in the right direction, only made better by removing all infringements upon the citizens of South Carolina with regards to them bearing their arms. I often questioned why law abiding citizens were restricted in any manner, but especially from restaurants that serve alcohol, from being armed. The answers I got back were "guns and alcohol don't mix." Maybe, but again, this would be another place that would simply become a soft target for criminals. It could only be improved by making no restrictions on patrons at these establishments.
If you live in South Carolina and wish to sound off to your elected representatives on this legislation, click here.