Some bar owners, tenders wary of allowing guns in

By Ava Wilhite

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) Bars and restaurants could soon be added to the list of places where concealed weapons are allowed. The proposed law passed the state Senate, but still has to make it through the House and across the governor's desk.

The bill is expected to pass, though. And that change in the law have some people saying happy hour won't be the same.

It's the quiet before the crowds inside DIG in the Park in North Charleston. For bartender Molly Moore wiping down the bar is part of the job, but another requirement may soon be added.

"I know that a lot of people would be in support of it, but I feel that most bartenders and bar{} owners would probably say that just puts us a more risk," said Moore. {}

A proposed state law would make it legal for concealed weapon carriers to bring their gun into bars and restaurants. Moore says crowd control is already an issue depending on the day, and depending on what her owners want that could mean more work for her.

"We wouldn't have time to actually go through and check everyone's purse and everyone's coat, and in case things got out of hand and bar fights do happen, we would have to worry about someone pulling out a weapon," Moore said.

Jason Rainboth is the assistant manager of a downtown Charleston bar and he agrees with Moore.

"The law states that you can carry in a bar or restaurant as long as you're not drinking and the whole point of a bar is to go out drinking," Rainboth said. {}

Rainboth is also licensed to carry a concealed weapon. He says a bar setting is different than a restaurant.

"A restaurant is a little bit of a different story: there's food, you're with your family most of the time. You're not drinking. But in a bar, the whole point of going in there is to drink," he said.

Congressman Mark Sanford says it wasn't his call to make, but he has no issue with the law.

"If you've checked out and you been found without a criminal record or mental problems all the other checks that go with the concealed carry. I don't see a problem with it," said Sanford.

"If it's already a law, that you can carry a concealed weapon if you have a permit, then I have no problem with that," said bill supporter Robert Hookson.

Lawmakers suggest the bar owners place a sign in their restaurants or bars if they don't want concealed weapons inside.{}

State Rep. Wendell Gilliard stands against the measure. In a statement released Friday, he called the mixture of guns and alcohol a "perfect storm."

"How dare we, in the state of South Carolina allow a person to carry a gun in restaurants, bars and movie theaters?" he asked. "First of all, alcohol and guns are a major setting for a Perfect Storm. Just this past Monday, a gentleman got shot and killed in Florida's movie theater for texting his young daughter's babysitter."{}

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