To the contrary

Restaurant carry law makes us safer

Special to The HeraldJanuary 31, 2014 

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Contrary to the hyperbolic anti-gun views expressed by The Herald, there is no reason to believe that the “sky-is-falling” conjured in its recent editorial about the restaurant carry bill will ever come to pass in South Carolina.

Restaurant carry is the term commonly used to refer to a law that allows law-abiding citizens to carry their personal protection firearms into a restaurant licensed to serve alcohol. The S.C. General Assembly recently passed legislation to establish this, and SB 308 is now awaiting action by Gov. Nikki Haley.

While this legislation may be new policy in South Carolina, it is far from a new concept. In fact, 45 other states currently have a similar law on the books, with none experiencing the violent bloodshed imagined by the Herald’s editorial, and none working to repeal their law.

CWP holders in South Carolina, along with their counterparts across the country, have consistently proven to be safe, responsible, law-abiding citizens. There is no reason to believe, as the editorial speculates, that “people could be killed because of an overdone steak or slow service.” Such hyperbole has no place in a reasoned discussion about the right to self-defense.

Restaurant carry doesn’t just support the right to self-defense, but also supports the property rights of restaurant owners since it lets them determine for themselves whether they will allow carrying on their property, as the existing law allows for other property owners.

Senate Bill 308 strikes an appropriate balance between the rights of CWP holders to be able to provide for their safety and that of others, and the property rights of restaurant owners. It is a welcome improvement to South Carolina law, and the NRA looks forward to Gov. Haley signing it in the near future.

Charles H. Cunningham, of Fairfax, Va., is director of state and local affairs for the National Rifle Association.

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