Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The bill that passed this week in the State House that would allow a concealed weapons permit holder to carry into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol has been a hot topic of conversion.
Business that serve alcohol can still legally prevent concealed weapons permit holders from carrying into their establishment, if they know the rules.
"Having a concealed weapons permit is in itself a big responsibility," said Ben Willis.
Willis is a State Law Enforcement Division certified concealed weapons instructor and a NRA certified pistol instructor, he has been following the developments at the State House in regards to the new bill.
"I have a personal interest in it and always have, but I also think it is my responsibility to know what changes are going on with the law," said Willis.
Willis says he understands the concern from restaurant and bar owners over the new potential law.
"I think they have a reason for concern, a legitimate reason for concern from a liability stand point," said Willis. "On the other hand I think they should realize that trained concealed weapons permit holders are not your average customer."
If a restaurant or bar owner wants to prohibit concealed weapons, they can do so by placing a sign stating that at the entrance of the building.
The laws governing the sign is very specific though, the sign must be visible; measure eight inches wide by twelve inches tall in size; contain the words "NO CONCEALABLE WEAPONS ALLOWED" in black one-inch tall uppercase, centered at the bottom of the sign.
It must also contain a black silhouette of a handgun inside a circle seven inches in diameter with a diagonal line at a 45° angle from the lower left to the upper right.
The sign also must be placed at least 40 inches high but not more than 60 inches from the bottom of the entrance.
"It has specifications that must be met or it is not a valid sign prohibiting concealed weapons," said Willis.
There are slightly different rules when it comes to premises without doors when it comes to the size of the sign, but Willis believes permit holders should understand their all the CWP laws.
Willis said, "They should pay attention to the law, they should know if they are in an environment that prohibits those handguns or concealed weapons and I think they should make their on personal choice accordingly."
Willis hopes the recent dialogue concerning CWP holders will give the general public a better understanding of legal weapons owners, that it's not just a group of people that want to carry guns, but people who are concerned about their safety.
Willis is a former law enforcement officer, he currently owns and operates Blythewood Defensive Services, where he teaches CWP classes.