Heed police on weapons bill

  • Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2013 12:01 a.m.

American outlaw and gunfighter John Wesley Hardin reportedly said, “They say I killed six or seven men for snoring. It ain’t true. I only killed one man for snoring.”

If the General Assembly amends state law to allow people to carry guns without a concealed weapons permit or training in how to use the weapon, South Carolina won’t instantly become the Wild West that John Wesley Hardin knew. But it would be easier for people to settle their disputes (maybe disputes about gun rights?) Clint Eastwood-style, or to shoot someone by accident.

A Senate subcommittee has given the nod to such an amendment, which has advanced to the Judiciary Committee.

Opponents, including the Fraternal Order of Police, pointed out at a hearing that untrained gun users can be dangerous, and that police officers will have to wait for someone openly holding a gun to commit a crime before confronting him.

Advocates, of course, say good people need guns to protect themselves from bad people.

One supporter, Sen. Shane Martin, R-Spartanburg, said that God gave people the right to keep and bear arms.

We must have missed that chapter and verse.

Chris Cooper of the National Association for Gun Rights said that training to use a gun, while a good thing, isn’t set out in the Constitution, so it shouldn’t be required.

But speaking of rights, former State Law Enforcement Division Chief Robert Stewart mentioned a few more: “You also have a constitutional right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”

And being on the wrong end of a stray bullet puts people at risk of losing all three.

South Carolina law zealously protects people’s right to keep and bear arms. Requiring them to be licensed and trained doesn’t diminish that right.

It simply makes it more likely that they’ll live to enjoy it.

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