Law enforcement in South Carolina are changing their approach to gun owners following the Open Carry with Training Act, which went into effect on August 15.
According to state’s new open-carry law, individuals with a concealed weapon permit who are 21 or older, have eight hours of training and a background check can now openly carry guns in public.
As South Carolina becomes a Second Amendment sanctuary state, law enforcement officers will have to think twice before approaching someone visibly carrying a gun.
Before the law, the open carry of handguns in a public area was illegal. Now, police will require probable cause to stop and question someone carrying a gun in public.
“A visible weapon with no other factors present does not give police the right to detain someone,” Myrtle Beach Police Captain Eric DiLorenzo said.
According to DiLorenzo, other laws related to concealed weapons remain unchanged.
“The duty to notify law enforcement still remain,” he said. “Those that are interacting with law enforcement that have a concealed weapon or are carrying open, those laws have not changed.”
Handguns are still not permitted in gun-free zones such as courthouses and schools, according to Fox 28 Savannah. In addition, private companies and employers can prohibit permit holders from carrying firearms on their property.
Kershaw County Sheriff Lee Boan also commented on the law, saying that it gives gun owners the option to conceal or openly carry their weapons.
“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,” he said.
Boan said that his agency has been trained to respond to the new law.
“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,” he explained. “We’re not going to investigate something that’s not a crime.”
At the bill-signing ceremony, Governor Henry McMaster said that “he will never support any encroachment on the rights of law-abiding citizens to own a gun.”