AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — A South Carolina new open carry law will soon be in effect.
“I could see somebody at a Walmart shopping and bumping into one another and then tempers flare and whenever you have gunplay in public bad things happen,” President, CEO Clifford Powell of Powell Asset Protection Agency to NewsChannel 6’s Aiken Bureau Chief Shawn Cabbagestalk about the new law.
Effective Sunday, August 15, anyone with a concealed weapons permit will be allowed to carry their weapon in the open in South Carolina.
“The law basically just changes the existing, wording, so to speak. So anyone that already has a concealed weapons permit will be able to open carry with that concealed weapons permit. They just have the option now to cover it or carry it unconcealed,” Aiken Department of Public Safety Lt. Jennifer Hayes said.
New people wanting to carry will need special training.
In Aiken County, one place you can go is Powell Asset Protection Agency.
Chief Clifford Powell, a vet and former police officer, and his team provide the training needed to get a CWP. “We are at a point where we have an on-staff, CWP instructor, which we, which means we can teach gun classes every single day. So that’s a good place to be,” Powell added.
They also have a shooting range for practice sessions.
While the law makes it easier for those permit holders to carry their firearms, Powell and others say it opens the door to potential problems.
“I personally am not going to have mine open carry. I don’t want people seeing what I have,” CWP instructor Larry Bowe said.
“Guns are going to be everywhere and people are going to be nervous,” Powell added. “If you open carry your weapon into a business, and everybody sees you, you immediately lose your tactical advantage,” he continued.
Newschannel 6 spoke with one local woman who said the timing was right for her to get a permit. She also worked on a simulator preparing her for any situation.
“It prepared me on anything that actually happened, like an event that happened like that. I never been in that type of situation and you could never prepare yourself for it,” Barnwell resident Tammy Fireall shared.
Meanwhile, for those wanting to open carry, Powell suggests getting a high-quality holster. “A holster does several things. It keeps your weapons safe, it keeps that trigger guard protected,” he said. “So many folks carry their weapons charged. So you could accidentally hit that trigger if it’s not covered and you get an accidental discharge, that’s a big deal. You can get foreign material, dirt, clothing can, can get between the trigger guard and it can actually go off with normal body movement,” he added.
Meantime, no application fee will be required for new CWPs. Businesses and private property owners can prohibit firearms if signs are posted at the doors.