I can understand both sides of the “open carry” law currently being debated. I am very pro gun and a strong believer in individual rights. However there are many problems that come with open carry that most people fail to realize. I spent my entire working life in law enforcement and encountered many crime victims. I am also an avid shooter, spending over 10 hours a week shooting, so I see both sides of this issue.
First, I have witnessed some extremely good shooters and some not so good shooters. Many of the poor shooters think just owning a gun and shooting a few times a year makes them competent . This is a serious misconception.
I read comments in this forum stating how the writer will feel safer carrying open. This is a myth. If a criminal sees you with a gun, he is now alerted you have it and you now become a more tempting target. He will now be able to formulate a plan not only to rob you, but also factor in how to get the gun first. From my observations I would honestly have to say very few people without training could be successful in defending themselves in a surprise attack.
I think very few people without any training can correctly state South Carolina law regarding the self defense statutes. How many people without any training can explain the alter ego rule? Ignorance of the law will not stop you from being arrested if you incorrectly use your firearm in self defense.
Think about what will occur in a routine traffic stop. Currently if you have a concealed weapon permit, the officer knows you are a law abiding citizen as you have gone through a background check and are not a felon. Under open carry, if stopped both you and the gun will be checked to be sure you are legal. This can turn a few minutes stop into a much longer one.
I urge anyone who wants to exercise their right to carry a firearm to understand it entails a great deal of responsibility that should be taken very seriously. Obtain the knowledge to properly defend yourself and be familiar with the law.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.