20 Percent of South Carolina Legislators have Concealed Handgun Permits

The State newspaper reports:

One in five state lawmakers has a concealed-weapons permit.

According to an analysis by The State newspaper, 37 lawmakers — seven of 46 state senators and 30 of 124 state representatives — can carry a firearm legally.

How many state lawmakers carry concealed weapons has become an issue because of two proposals before the Legislature.

One would make secret the now-public list of South Carolinians who can carry concealed weapons. The other proposal —watered down last week — would allow anyone to keep a weapon in a car while parked at the State House.

Lawmakers who pack heat interviewed by The State say they carry concealed weapons primarily out of fear of the unknown.

“Lawmakers fall into that category of people who sometimes become targets,” said Rep. Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, who doesn’t have a concealed-weapons permit but keeps a Glock in his car. . . .

Thirty-eight lawmakers have permits, according to the list kept by the State Law Enforcement Division. Two other lawmakers — Rep. Dennis Moss, D-Cherokee, and Sen. Jake Knotts, R-Lexington, — can carry a handgun legally because they’re retired law-enforcement officers. . . .

That is 15 percent of state Senators and 24 percent of state Representatives.

Doug Pennington of the Washington-based Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence said Kelly’s bill could make the State House less safe, not safer.

“This creates a gun-accident and gun-theft risk,” he said. “Right now, there isn’t one.” . . .

It would be nice if Mr. Pennington could actually give some examples.



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