AROUND THE STATE: Conceal the guns; reveal, and fix racism
Suddenly, or so it seems, South Carolina lawmakers want to make our state seem like it’s on the cutting edge and progressive, in step with the nation as a whole.
By letting concealed weapons permit holders carry openly in public. Granted, lawmakers are not tossing aside all gun-related laws. Open carry does not grant a permit holder the right to whip out a holstered gun and wave it around any more than he or she would be within his rights to pull said weapon from its concealed holster. South Carolina bars and restaurants that serve alcohol wouldn’t be old West saloons. We hope.
We remain unconvinced this change is needed while yet supporting the Second Amendment and fully favoring that people who want to carry a weapon on their person do so by taking and passing a concealed weapons permit class. We should be and are grateful that this measure is at least limited to permit holders and not open to anyone who owns a gun. But that’s not much consolation.
Generally speaking, CWP holders are law-abiding residents who have a need or perceived need to have a sidearm for personal protection. In truth, they’re the ones store owners should be least worried about. Yet, many store owners post signs reading “No concealed weapons allowed,” as if that will turn a would-be armed robber away.
But open carry can be a bit — pardon the pun here — disarming out in public. Will it stop with a sidearm? Probably not. Imagine the crowd of big box store shoppers going up and down the aisles with AR-15s slung across their shoulders. Instead of kids whining about the toy or candy they want, they might cry and cling to mommy and daddy in fear. And let’s not think about what might happen as we near the holiday shopping season and only one of those sales items remains on the shelf.
If South Carolina wants to show how progressive it really is, it will do more to remove some of its stigmas that make it look like it’s still caught up in the civil war, it might consider hate-crime legislation.
Instead of openly carrying weapons, let’s strive to openly carry our sense of decency, respect for others, the shedding of our racist past that yet flies in the faces of visitors and residents alike. It’s called a battle flag, and the racism it represents is concealed in the phrase “heritage, not hate.”
Reprinted with permission from The Index-Journal of Greenwood.