Re Beryl Andrews letter, "Concealed weapons without permit scary," March 2:
While not necessarily supporting the "gun bill" being debated in our legislature, I do take exception with several inaccurate comments Andrews made, but am totally in agreement on one point: the need for some time of training if you are going to take on the responsibility of carrying a firearm.
First I would like to address the fact that a convicted felon is prohibited by federal law from owning or possessing any firearm or ammunition. This bill would not give back any rights to felons.
Andrews' statement "we could have anyone buying a gun without a permit" tells me that Andrews comes from another state and has no knowledge of current law regarding gun sales. Any S.C. citizen can legally buy a firearm, handgun or long gun without any type of permit providing they can pass a federal background check.
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Current law states that the maximum length of a concealed handgun cannot exceed 12 inches. Federal law limits the minimum length of long guns, with shotgun barrels having a required minimum length of 18 inches.
With regard to training I totally agree with Andrews. South Carolina has some unique laws pertaining to self defense as well as coming to the defense of another. Not knowing these laws will not shield you from prosecution if you violate them and in fact your making the decision to carry a concealed handgun without first getting proper training may be looked upon as a reckless act and cause further legal problems.
I would recommend that everyone interested wait until a final bill is enacted into law, read it and be sure you clearly understand its provisions.
There are numerous people offering concealed weapons permit training in the area, most around $100 or less. If you ever find yourself in a position of defending yourself to law enforcement regarding your use of deadly force, you will appreciate having spent the time and money.
The writer lives in Myrtle Beach.