SC Law Blog

Welcome to the South Carolina Law Blog where there is open discussion through feedback on hot legal topics in this state. Feel free to comment and/or suggest a topic to address.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Making the link between the Colorado shooting and gun usage

At the midnight premiere of the Dark Knight Rises several people were shot and killed while a number of others were wounded by gunman James Holmes in Aurora, Colorado. In the wake of the Colorado tragedy, many questions remain. Most certainly, people are wondering why the young PhD student with a bright future ahead of him opened fire on innocent people in a crowded movie theatre. Although the suspect has been identified and caught the fact remains that the public may never get an answer to this question.

An interesting but rather different question remains on my mind after the tragic shooting. I wonder if the outcome would have been any different had any of the innocent people in the theatre been armed with weapons themselves. Regulation of firearms has certainly been a hot topic of debate over the past several years due to the increase in reports of shootings. Some propose more stringent guidelines for obtaining and owning handguns while others argue more stringent guidelines would impede a person’s first amendment rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

Regardless of your opinion on the regulation of handguns, the law in South Carolina is compulsory and any failure to comply can result in fines and/or jail time. According to statute, a concealable weapon means a firearm having a length of less than twelve inches measured along its greatest dimension that must be carried in a manner that is hidden away from public view in normal wear of clothing except when needed for self defense, defense of others and the protection of real or personal property. South Carolina section 23-31-215 of the statute lists the places a person is forbidden from carrying a concealed weapon, included among the lists are hospitals, polling locations, churches and places where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law. For a full list, see

Most public places prohibit a person from carrying a weapon even when they have a valid concealed weapons permit. All that a public place must do to forbid concealed weapons is display a sign that shows weapons are not allowed in the area. Movie theatres are traditionally a place where weapons are forbidden. But what if gun laws were relaxed and allowed for the carrying of weapons into public places like movie theatres. It is quite possible the outcome would have been no different had one or more of the moviegoers been armed with weapons still I cant help but wonder “what if.”

Even if you have your concealed weapons permit, you can face charges for carrying your weapon into prohibited places. If you are carrying a weapon into a prohibited place without a concealed weapons permit the penalties can be even more severe.  Whether you are carrying a weapon lawfully or not does that really take away from the fact that you were protecting yourself or someone else by firing that weapon? I’m sure the victims of the Colorado shooting wouldn’t have cared whether other moviegoers in the theatre were carrying weapons illegally if the weapons were aimed at the perpetrator.

If you have been the victim of a crime and you are facing criminal charges for your involvement contact Daniel Selwa today. He will put on your best defense so you don’t have to pay for the consequences of the crime at hand. 

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