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Currently anyone can access the list of people who have concealed weapon permits. But a bill that has been forwarded to Gov. Mark Sanford would restrict access to law enforcement and only under certain circumstances.
Apparently Rep. Mike Pitts, R-Laurens, thinks the bill is necessary because would-be thieves can request the list and then break into a gun owner's home to steal guns.
The State newspaper reports:
"If a person has gotten a concealed-weapons permit, they probably have more than one gun at their home," Pitts said. "Criminals can find out who has a permit. They can find out addresses and go break in."
Pitts said he supports the notion that government works best when open to public scrutiny. "But at some point, it crosses over to the point of invading personal privacy,”"he said.
The counterpoint is that the state has dozens of lists (such as business licenses) and that the concealed weapons list has more need to be public.
The State continues:
"I believe in gun ownership and don’t think anyone has a right to know I own a gun," (Bill Rogers of the S.C. Press Association) said. "But if I want to take (a gun) into a public (shopping) mall, maybe it does become the public’s business."
There is also concern that making the list private will reduce the chance of discovering permits falsley issued to convicted felons.
But it seems that many readers think that while the law may or may not have merit, it's a bit of a nonissue. User SCVOTER comments on The Post and Courier's Web site:
What happened to Doug-Hoffman? Seems like this would be his issue. I am all about transparent government, but how does it help anyone to know who is carrying a concealed weapon? It seems to me like this is just another step towards taking away the rights of honest citizens from carrying guns.
I think attention would be better focused on enforcing the existing gun laws, and getting illegal guns off the street.
I guess legislators would rather go for the low hanging fruit instead of doing the actual leg work required to find illegal guns.