Beaufort Today -

Training waiver does gun owners and society no service

Yippee ki yay and yeehaw! We won’t need no stinking permits to carry guns in South Carolina! Your state representatives are votin’ for unfettered totin’, so get ready to load ’em up and strap ’em on, cowpokes!

Well, not so fast, my huckleberry. Last week the South Carolina House passed a bill allowing firearms to be carried without permits, but the high hurdle of senate passage remains – and traditionally, it isn’t going to fly.

Because the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution makes no requirements for citizens to keep and bear arms, this legislation for constitutional carry removes all (or almost all) government-imposed restrictions. In this case, it would allow those who can legally buy guns to carry them either openly or concealed, without background checks or any instruction.

Passage would make South Carolina the 15th state to adopt a form of firearms carry law sans permit, but that’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Nonetheless, with as many as six more states ready to adopt similar legislation yet this year, it will likely happen here in the near future.

Just as reciprocity has driven our state to recognize carry permits issued by other states – even those with far more lenient requirements – so will it pressure us to succumb to surrounding states that have very limited firearms restrictions. National Review forecasts that about two-thirds of the states will have some form of constitutional carry within four years.

Even with numerous flaws, South Carolina lawmakers voted for this bill anyway. Perhaps knowing it would be defeated in the Senate, House members took a cheap shot to pander to constituents. Ironically, many citizens involved with shooting sports are not in tune with our representatives on this issue.

Within home state boundaries, residents buy, sell and trade thousands of firearms among themselves every day. No background checks are required for these private transactions between South Carolinians. However, it has become common practice for sellers to insist that buyers produce a SLED-issued concealed weapons permit.

In other words, law-abiding citizens want to do business with folks who have cleared a background check. Surprising, eh? Without a thought toward this, the bill maintains that the state will continue to issue CWPs, again ironically, for citizens who may travel to another state that requires a permit.

Despite all the clamoring from the anti-gun lobby, licensing, registration and background checks have very little impact on reducing crimes committed with firearms. But constitutional carry bills also do away with training, which is another matter altogether.

Yesteryear, everyone had firearms training, but today’s urban cowboys don’t have a clue. At the same time, modern small arms are far more diverse with mechanisms more complicated than ever. And the laws for the deployment of lethal force must be understood.

As I grow older I want everyone around me to know CPR – and understand that you keep your finger off the trigger unless you’re ready to fire!

Eight hours of basic training in the safe handling of firearms is not an infringement. It is a necessity. In that regard, constitutional carry misses the target entirely.

Columnist Michael Raymond can be reached at mikejraymond@yahoo.com.

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