Charleston, South Carolina, Police Department Issues Formal Statement On Open Carry

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 4 months ago

WCSC:

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – A Lowcountry police department has formally taken a stance on a Senate bill which, if passed, would allow anyone who can legally purchase a gun to carry it in the state openly or concealed.

The Charleston Police Department tweeted an update on its Twitter account Monday night sharing the department’s opinion on Senate bill S. 449 reading in part:

“Please understand what this bill creates – the ability for anyone who can legally purchase a firearm, many who have not completed a background check to determine whether or not they are prohibited purchasers due to the location and manner of the transfer or received any type of training, to walk our streets and neighborhoods with a handgun on their hip, in a bag, or under their jacket without any review or training.”

This may be the most mangled use of the English language I’ve ever witnessed.  I’m still actually having trouble with it, but together we’ll try to parse it.

First of all, there is the issue of the choice of the word “ability.”  This is odd, and the department – whomever that is, perhaps the chief of police, perhaps his secretary, perhaps an attorney – may have meant “legality,” or “legal viability,” or “legal ability.”  Anyone who has the money has the ability to purchase virtually anything.  In other words, the lack of some sort of state approval means nothing whatsoever concerning whether a person can do something, only whether a person may do something under the law.

Second, if we can get past the word ability, the phrase “who can legally purchase a firearm” says more than they want it to say and destroys their argument (if you can call this an argument at all).  It’s problematic because they acquiesce to the notion that the user or owner of the firearm has obtained the firearm legally (via form 4473) by stipulating so in the prefatory remarks, and then demur by saying that the owner or user may not be a legal firearm owner because, and I quote, “many who (sic) have not completed a background check to determine whether or not they are prohibited purchasers due to the location and manner of the transfer or received any type of training …”

They should have said “many of whom.”  Actually, they shouldn’t have said anything at all.  This is yet another oddball statement.  A “prohibited purchaser” cannot legally purchase a firearm via form 4473 (not that I agree with federal gun laws, I’m just attempting to logically parse this screwed up statement).

Person-to-person transfers are still legal in South Carolina, requiring neither form 4473 nor CLEO approval, nothing about that changes with this bill, and what all of this has to do with constitutional versus permitted carry is not addressed in this confusing statement.  Presumably the chief was referring to the fact that the CLEO permitting process will not have been followed for carry of the firearm (purchase of a firearm doesn’t require CLEO approval, but carry of a firearm [legally] does require CLEO approval).

But that’s what this debate is all about.  No one is denying that the bill, if passed would annul the requirement for CLEO approval for permitting to carry.  That’s its virtue, not its cunning.  Additionally, someone may walk around with a gun in a pocket, bag, on their hip or under a jacket anyway without CLEO approval.  If it isn’t seen, LEOs wouldn’t have opportunity to stop them since all detainments must be a so-called “Terry Stop.”  CLEO approval isn’t stopping criminals from carrying weapons.

The title of the article says that the Charleston Police Department weighs in on open carry, but the objections so far have to do only with bypassing the CLEO process for concealed carry and weapons transfers.  So it’s possible that the author of the short article didn’t even understand the issue.  Or it’s possible that the article is mistitled since the proposed law both bypasses the CLEO permitting process and legalizes open carry at one time.

Perhaps the chief has taught his officers that if someone isn’t carrying openly, the person isn’t carrying at all.  But wait, open carry is still illegal in South Carolina, and I doubt that officers in his employ assume that criminals aren’t carrying firearms and only permitted carriers have weapons.  We are left to wonder if the chief cares to weigh in on open carry.  Then again, let’s hope not.  His statement might be even worse than this one.  At least if he does issue such a statement, he should take a grammar course first, and perhaps a suitable course in logic and rhetoric.

Prior:

Constitutional Carry Update In Alabama, Texas And South Carolina

Constitutional Carry Passes Alabama Senate, Setting Example For The South Carolina Senate

South Carolina Police And Lawmakers Are In A “Shootout” Over Carrying Guns

Laws Against Open Carry Are For The Purpose Of Shaming Gun Owners

South Carolina Senate Hearings For New Gun Laws


Comments

  1. On April 26, 2017 at 10:55 am, Archer said:

    That is some seriously mangled logic.

    The bill would allow “anyone who can legally purchase a firearm” to carry it in public. That part isn’t in dispute.

    The part in dispute is where the “writer” (using the term loosely) lumps “prohibited purchasers” in with “anyone who can legally purchase a firearm”.

    The two groups are mutually exclusive, unless there’s some loophole in the law that says that unmonitored sales (without 4473 forms) to prohibited persons are legal. IANAL, but I’m not aware of any such exception or loophole in any state or federal law. My understanding is that a “prohibited purchaser” is prohibited under both state and federal law from purchasing a firearm. Period. Full stop.

    Leaving aside whether their description of what the bill would do is accurate, the argument fails right there. By definition, someone who may legally purchase a firearm is not a “prohibited purchaser”, and a “prohibited purchaser” is not someone who may legally purchase a firearm.

    Really, we can refute the entire line of reasoning with two words, Wikipedia-style: “Citation needed.” Or, put another way, “Can you cite any case where someone who could legally purchase a firearm turned out to be a prohibited purchaser, or any case where a prohibited purchaser legally purchased a firearm?”

    They can’t, because it’s never happened.

  2. On May 1, 2017 at 11:05 am, Longbow said:

    Dear Police Chief,

    You mean to tell me, that honest law-abiding, regular folks will be able to exercise their rights at their own discretion without having to ask your permission first? Shucks by golly! What a concept!

    For a control freak this must be terrifying. If all you really care about is your ability to wield the power over your neighbors and having control over anyone and everyone around you, this probably scares the piss out of you.

    It must be frustrating to see free men go about acting like FREE MEN.

    Thank you for being honest about who and what you are.

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This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published April 25th, 2017 by Herschel Smith.

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