A proposal to allow concealed weapon permit holders to openly carry their firearms passed a House Judiciary subcommittee by a 3-1 vote earlier this month, but the law enforcement community is not on board with the changes.
“When you go to open carry, I think you are creating more problems,” Greenwood Police Chief T.J. Chaudoin said. “I think it would cause too many problems with the general public.”
Chaudoin said having someone walking down the street with 16 guns on their belt could cause people to panic or be afraid.
“This isn’t the wild west where everybody walks around with a gun on their hip,” he said.
Law enforcement’s position should not be confused with a position that is anti-gun, the police chief said.
“First and foremost, I think that it is important that we support the Second Amendment rights,” Chaudoin said. “People have the right to bear arms.”
The Second Amendment is an important part of the U.S. Constitution, he said, adding that the state has a method of concealed carry that works.
“I like the law the way we have it,” Chaudoin said.
Chaudoin said the concealed weapon permit process works well.
“I think that is a great thing we have in South Carolina,” he said. “I’m just not 100% convinced that open carry would be where we needed to go.”
The bill would add the language — carried openly or openly on one’s person — to the state law that governs how handguns may be transported or carried.
The bill appeared on the state House Judiciary committee’s agenda for Tuesday, but committee members adjourned debate on the bill until the committee meets again.