It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
A new law bars the public from finding out who can carry concealed weapons in South Carolina.
The measure signed into law on Wednesday exempts the identities of the state's more than 61,300 permit holders from what's available through the Freedom of Information Act. Access is now limited to law enforcement or through a court order.
The change was advocated by gun enthusiasts who say publishing gun owners' names violates their privacy, while open-government advocates lost their argument that the government should never issue licenses in secret.
Gov. Mark Sanford, an avid hunter, said he wrestled with the bill because it pitted two principles he considers important against each other - the right to keep and bear arms versus government transparency.
"As important as both of those are, the more important from our perspective is the first," the Republican governor wrote in a letter to legislative leaders.
Sanford considers the permitting itself - requiring someone to get a concealed weapon permit to carry a gun - an infringement on the Second Amendment. Carrying a gun, concealed or not, should be a personal, not governmental, decision, he wrote.
South Carolina was among half a dozen states considering legislation this year closing the list to public scrutiny.
The National Rifle Association has advocated the measures, citing the publishing of gun owners by newspapers in Tennessee, Ohio and New York in the past three years.