South Carolina’s ‘Guns in Bars’ bill took a step towards becoming state law on Tuesday. The South Carolina state senate’s Judiciary Committee passed the bill out for debate in front of the entire senate by a vote of 15-7. Opponents of the bill claim that mixing alcohol and guns is a bad idea.
Should the bill pass, it would be somewhat of a step in the opposite direction of what most states are doing in the wake of the Sandy Hook shootings. While California takes up whether or not to adopt stricter gun legislation, South Carolina is looking to add to the number of places someone can carry a concealed weapon.
The Huffington Post reports that should the bill continue on and become law, it would make it legal for people to carry a concealed weapon into bars and other establishments that serve alcohol. While the law might seem like it is inviting trouble, there are caveats built in.
WSPA.com indicates that the bill would not make it mandatory for those establishments to allow concealed carrying patrons if they didn’t want them. A sign could be posted outside the bar or place of business where alcohol is sold clearly saying that weapons are not allow.
The bill also states that if someone goes into a place that serves alcohol with their gun, they will not be allowed to drink alcohol. The bill’s sponsor, Sean Bennett, (R-Summerville) says that people had asked him to bring the bill because they didn’t feel it was fair that they couldn’t take their guns with them when the went into a restaurant that served alcohol.
Bennett pointed out that he actually agrees with people who say that guns and alcohol don’t mix. He added that was why he put in the provision not allowing those carrying weapons to consume alcoholic beverages.
A similar “Guns in Bars” bill was passed by the South Carolina House of Representatives last year by a 90-5 vote, but the Senate never took action.