Open carry laws don't make citizens feel safer

newsroom@islandpacket.comMay 23, 2014 

We recently drove to Savannah to attend a play and have dinner. The downtown streets were full, with Savannah College of Art and Design graduation that weekend, and many weddings. Everyone looked relaxed and seemed to be enjoying the beautiful squares on a mild spring evening. Family members from all over the country were there to visit family and friends.

We were relaxed also until I noticed an oddly dressed young man walking around. At first I though perhaps he was a tour guide since he carried a lantern. But his khaki clothing and bandolier belt seemed out of place.

Then we noticed other people walking toward him, pausing and then moving away. One person appeared to be crossing the street quickly.

The reason became obvious. He was exercising his rights to walk the streets with a large pistol in a holster on his belt. Looking left and right, he appeared to be waiting for someone to ask him to explain the gun.

But Georgia citizens know better. Open carry is allowed almost anywhere in that state. Strangely, the people I saw didn't seem to feel safer knowing that guy was on the street with a firearm.

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley has stated that she supports allowing almost every S.C. citizen to carry a firearm, openly or concealed, and without any training or permit.

Georgia and South Carolina already rank in the top 20 states for death by firearm (rate per capita).

I suspect that with these potential changes, we'll move up the list.

Lynn L. Tyson

Bluffton

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