According to WSAV, the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) said that the number of concealed weapons permits, or CWP applications has increased from 40, 270 in 2011, to 64, 437 in 2012 and 86, 686 in 2013. Conversely, the state denied 674 CWP requests in 2011, 1,105 in 2012 and 1,185 in 2013.
SLED Chief Mark Keel said he thinks South Carolina is doing a very effective job of preventing the wrong people from getting CWPs.
“I don’t always want to say everybody, but I certainly believe that we have a great process in place,” he says. “We’re very fortunate in our statutes that we have one of the best CWP laws in the country that allows us to do a thorough background check.”
As WSAV reports, the state allows SLED to check arrest records on a nightly basis. Those records are compared to the CWP holder database. If anybody with a CWP is arrested for a prohibited offense, his or her CWP is suspended. If he is found guilty, it is permanently revoked.
“The biggest thing we see is assault, assault and criminal domestic violence,” Chief Keel said. “Those are the charges that I think are the most frequent, that we see that are prohibiting offenses that we end up revoking a CWP, or suspending a CWP on.”
Keel attributes the rise in CWP applications with the possibility of more federal gun restrictions.
“I know any time after the government starts talking about gun control we’ve seen an increase,” he says. “And after the Connecticut school shooting, when the federal government started talking about gun control and limiting gun ownership, is when we saw a huge increase in the number of CWPs being issued.”