Local businesses react to proposal to allow people with CWP's carry in bars and restaurants

Some local businesses are reacting to a bill the South Carolina Senate amended Thursday that would allow people with concealed weapon permits take their guns into establishments that serve alcohol.

Under the state's current law, people with concealed weapons permits can only carry guns in restaurants that don't serve alcohol.

However under the proposal, those who carry concealed weapons will not be allowed to consume alcohol.

Bumsteads Pub Bar Manager Jason Hawa said even if people aren't allowed to drink, it could still create problems for staff members.

"If you were able to enter an establishment and not drink, then it becomes the staff's responsibility to make sure you're not drinking or to police you inside of your own place," Hawa said.

It's not just restaurants that are wary of the proposed change.

People who work at gun shops say there could be dangers with allowing guns in a bar or restaurant that sells alcohol.

Ted Gragg was one of two first selected by the state of South Carolina in 1996 to teach a course about carrying concealed firearms.

"My personal opinion, as an instructor and as a firearm enthusiast, is that alcohol and firearms never mix, and I do not believe that a concealed carry permit should be allowed to carry a firearm in a place serving alcohol by the drink," said Gragg, who is the National Rifle Association Range Technical Officer for South Carolina.

The bill amendment also includes ways for businesses to opt out.

For instance, business owners have the right to post a sign outside of their business banning firearms from coming inside.

However, Hawa isn't convinced that posting a sign outside will help, particularly if some restaurants and bars choose to allow people to bring concealed weapons inside. "If they can do it in one place then they're going to do it in the next place, whether they have a sign up or not in my opinion."

The Senate amended the bill on Thursday and sent it back to the House of Representatives.

The House had passed the bill in 2013.