Marion passes ordinance banning open carry at city-permitted events

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MARION, S.C. (WBTW) — The Marion City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday night banning openly carrying firearms at city-permitted events.

The ordinance is in response to the Open Carry with Training Act, signed by Gov. Henry McMaster in May, which allows the open carrying of certain weapons in the state.

“Open carry of firearms in crowded venues raise serious issues from the danger that such weapons may be stolen or that their presence may cause incidents of physical confrontations as a result of attempts to steal or confiscate such weaponry,” according to Marion’s ordinance, which goes on to state that those who openly carry guns are more likely to become targets for violent offenders.

“People who open carry are more apt to use a readily available firearm in a situation where deadly force is not justified,” the ordinance reads. “Open carry causes concern for many people and crowded venues can exaggerate the level of concern.”

The city also expects that the open carrying of weapons at events would lead to more calls to law enforcement.

The new state law allows for public or private entities to ban both concealed and openly carried weapons at their businesses or workplaces. Municipalities can also temporarily ban openly carrying firearms on public property for protests, rallies, fairs, parades, festivals and other organized events, as long as a permit is issued for the event.

The ordinance follows ones passed by similar local municipalities, including Conway and Florence.

The city also passed an emergency ordinance that temporarily allows the city council to hold remote meetings. The move is in response to the rapid spread of COVID-19, spurred by the omicron variant, across the nation.

The emergency ordinance gives the council the ability to cancel or revoke any special event permits for events taking place until March 13. The ordinance will expire either 61 days from when it was passed, or until it is terminated by the council. The ordinance may be extended.

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