May
29

SC bill allowing guns in bars, restaurants heads to House floor for debate

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second AmendmentA bill that would allow South Carolinians with permits to carry concealed weapons to take their guns into restaurants and bars advanced in the House on Tuesday with the support of Democrats – increasing the bill’s chance of passing this year.

The House Judiciary Committee voted 19-1 to send the bill to the House floor to debate. Among those voting for the bill were seven Democrats. Republicans control the S.C. House. However, Democratic opposition could have made the bill difficult to pass this year and could do so yet, in the state Senate.

The bill, a version of which already has passed the Senate, would allow people with permits to carry concealed weapons to take their guns into restaurants or bars as long as they do not drink alcohol and property owners do not post signs prohibiting concealed weapons.

House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland, was among the bill’s supporters. During the meeting, Rutherford acknowledged “those people who think that we are crazy to pass this,” emphasizing business owners have the right to ban concealed weapons.

Supporters say the bill would expand the rights of responsible gun owners to carry their weapons in more places. Critics have been leery of allowing guns in places where people are consuming alcohol.

The proposal, Rutherford said, also would address the problem of people with permits having to leave their guns in vehicles before going into a restaurant, instead of keeping the weapons on them.

The bill heading to the House floor is different than the proposal that passed the Senate.

The Senate voted to include a midnight curfew on carrying weapons into places that serve alcohol. The Senate proposal also would have banned people from entering and remaining in areas of businesses dedicated to serving alcohol. Those restrictions were adopted as a compromise to ease the concerns of some that the bill would allow people to carry guns into bars past midnight.

A House panel removed those restrictions, calling them arbitrary and difficult to enforce.

If the House passes the bill, the Senate would have to agree with the House changes or the two chambers would have to reconcile their differences in a conference committee before the proposal can become law.

http://www.thestate.com/2013/05/28/2790949/sc-bill-allowing-guns-in-bars.html

Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/2013/05/28/2790949/sc-bill-allowing-guns-in-bars.html#storylink=cpy

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