‘They can decide whether they want to carry open or concealed’: SC Open Carry Law now in effect
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - The S.C. Open Carry with Training Act is in effect as of August 15, 2021, which allows valid Concealed Weapon Permit (CWP) owners the option to carry their handguns openly.
“For the law-abiding Concealed Weapon Permit owner, today is a very significant day because they can decide whether they want to carry open or concealed,” said Kershaw County Sheriff Lee Boan.
South Carolina is the 46th state to enact an Open Carry with Training law. The law requires that anyone openly carrying a handgun has a CWP, which SC law says can be earned by people 21 years or older through a training course.
Owner of Sandhill Shooting Sports and President of SC Carry, Sherra Scott, says knowledge is essential.
“Education is key to everything,” said Scott. “If you don’t know the laws and safety measures on how to properly and safely use whatever it is – whether it be a firearm, a knife, a car, your stove, whatever it is that you’re using – you need to use it safely.”
Scott says she’s seen an increase in enrollment for her CWP classes in the past year or so, and she’s also seen an increase in gun sales. She expects to see more utilization of open carry in rural areas.
“Really foresee a lot more of it here in Kershaw County than, say, in Columbia, simply because that’s the culture out here,” said Scott.
As valid CWP owners choose to open carry, Sheriff Boan is making sure his officers and dispatch personnel are trained to respond.
“When you get that call that somebody’s walking down the road or parking lot or something openly carrying a firearm, that’s not a crime. That’s not a crime,” said Boan. “We’re not going to investigate something that’s not a crime.”
Officials say the law does not change:
- The requirement to carry permit and notify law enforcement of CWP
- That CWP holders must be 21, complete training, and pass a background check before getting a CWP
- Restrictions on where CWP holders can carry, including a private company’s right to prohibit carrying
- That a weapon can be carried by CWP holders or lawfully stored while driving
Scott says that education for gun safety and handling is vital, and so is having knowledge of different kinds of holsters. She says there are various security features on holsters that gun owners should be aware of.
Boan says just because the law is in effect, CWP owners can still decide to conceal their weapons if they choose to do so in areas where concealed carry is permitted.
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