COLUMBIA, S.C. — S.308, sponsored by Senators Sean Bennett, Katrina Shealy and others, which allows Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) holders to legally carry firearms in restaurants, moved one step closer to final approval today. An amendment added to the bill also streamlines the CWP renewal process by providing the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) with the necessary tools to perform its duties in a more timely manner.

Senator Bennett noted, “This bill is an acknowledgement that law-abiding gun owners with state licensed training deserve to have their constitutional rights protected, not restricted. It also ensures that renewal of their permits won’t be delayed by bureaucratic backlogs.”

Senator Shealy added, “This was one of my top priorities last year, and was again to start this session. To get this victory straight out of the gate in 2014 is significant. This bill is a confirmation that in South Carolina, we value the right to legally carry a firearm, and our CWP holders should not have their rights trampled by arbitrary restrictions.”

To preserve property rights, restaurant owners are permitted under this legislation to post signage prohibiting the carrying of weapons by CWP holders.

Currently, South Carolina is one of only six states that absolutely prohibits any citizen in conformance with state law from carrying a firearm into a restaurant where alcohol is served. However, under the provisions of S.308, CWP holders would not be allowed to consume alcoholic beverages while carrying their weapon on a business’ premises.

With the adoption of new amendments, the bill now returns to the House of Representatives for an up or down vote.


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