Florence County law enforcement leaders educate community on upcoming ‘Open Carry’ law

Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 6:11 AM EDT
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - Authorities in Florence County hosted a public forum Tuesday on the open carry law that goes into effect Aug. 15.

Florence Police Chief Allen Heidler and Florence County Sheriff T.J. Joye agree that some people will fear the law, while others will love it. They just want to make sure everyone knows what to expect when it becomes legal to open carry a firearm.

“Just to educate the public is the most important thing, answer the questions of the CWP (Concealed Weapons Permit) holders. And if you don’t have a CWP, you can’t do it,” Joye said.

Heidler and Joye laid out the open carry law word for word to a crowd of people at Francis Marion University.

“The main change is the physical wearing of handguns, whereas you know, the public is not used to seeing them,” Heidler said.

Officials answered questions about when and where people could open carry, and the signs businesses must display if they prohibit open carry.

Most importantly, they spoke about how law enforcement is preparing for the new law.

“We’ve actually produced a training video for them (officers) on what they can do and can’t do by what the law provides us,” Joye said.

It’s important to remember that the open carry law is new for both the public and for law enforcement officers. Joye said it’s going to take some getting used to.

“It’s a concern for all agencies because it’s new, and with open carry, you can be walking in the yard and see someone walking down the street with a weapon, so it’s a little different scenario and it’s going to be busy to start with,” Joye said.

Another forum will be held 7 p.m. Thursday at the Lake City Continuum.

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