Editorial: Permit certification law accident waiting to happen

  • Posted: Monday, March 3, 2014 6:24 p.m.

The new concealed-carry law recently passed in South Carolina has been a hot-button issue since the day it was passed.

The law allows concealed-weapon permit holders to carry guns into establishments that serve alcohol. That provision of the law, in itself, is one that can be debated at length.

But a lesser-known aspect of the law, written about at length in a story in Monday’s edition of the Aiken Standard, goes beyond the realm of debatable and into the territory of downright scary.

Before the new law was passed allowing permit holders to carry guns in places that serve alcohol, anyone who obtained a concealed-carry permit in South Carolina had to undergo an eight-hour training course.

Now, under the new law, the length of the concealed carry training course is up to the instructor, as long as the permit applicant passes the state-mandated written test and a 50-round qualification course. If the applicant does that, the instructor can sign the certificate, and a resident can carry a concealed weapon almost anywhere, including bars.

Anything less than an eight-hour course on correctly carrying and using a gun is nothing more than an assembly line overseen by instructors, looking for a quick buck, churning out ignorant permit holders who could easily hurt or kill themselves or someone else.

And instructors who choose to do this are leaving those ignorant permit holders to fend for themselves without the knowledge they need – or deserve – if they are going to carry a concealed weapon.

In an eight-hour course, what typically is taught are skills such as shooting stance, different types of guns and ammunition, how to handle the weapon and basic marksmanship.

But just as important for those carrying a concealed weapon is a full understanding of the laws in the state of South Carolina (and what to do if you cross state lines.)

These include lessons of legality regarding the use of deadly force, a full understanding of the state concealed weapons law and how to handle interaction with law enforcement for those carrying a concealed weapon.

To boot, the new law also allows former military and retired law enforcement to skip part of the training to speed up the permitting process.

Even though that’s a bit more understandable piece of the law, it still can leave a large training gap. For both groups, the training they received regarding weapons use is much different that what would be applicable in a civilian world.

Yes, there is more to be cautious about now that we have a law allowing permit holders to bring guns into bars. But the additions tacked onto the bill – provisions most South Carolina residents weren’t even aware of when they supported the bill – are what makes this new law downright dangerous.

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