Confusion over concealed carry under outdated ordinance in Irmo

IRMO, SC (WIS) - There's confusion over concealed weapons in the Town of Irmo. Concealed weapons, including pistols, are forbidden under a town ordinance enacted in 1985.

Permit holders in Irmo are up in arms over that ordinance. A newer state law defining and allowing for concealed carry by Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) holders supersedes the town's old ordinance and therefore voids part of it.

Citizens ask, why not update the town code and clear the confusion?

Frank Aline has been outspoken on the matter. Aline is a firearms instructor, who trains others to carry weapons, concealed, according to the state law. However, he's now concerned CWP holders like himself could be arrested for carrying in Irmo, because of the ordinance. He's looking for clarity and he'd like to see the code amended.

"It becomes a problem for anyone that wants to carry in the Town of Irmo because it doesn't violate the state law and we're having a conflict of interest here," Aline explained. "We want to make sure that people stay within the boundaries of the law."

The ordinance doesn't just ban carrying a pistol concealed; it includes metal knuckles, razor, ice pick, certain knives, and other things. That's the part of the ordinance Mayor Hardy King wants to keep. Furthermore, there have been efforts recently to amend the ordinance, but they've so far failed.

King says politics have caused the stir over the ordinance, and made a big deal of a non-issue, saying: "Some people think they're more intelligent than others. Some people think they're lawyers, and they're not. Some people just want to… whatever the word is I can say –expletive- fuss, yack, whatever. That's just the way it is."

King claims the ordinance is not enforced, anyway. "Our police officers are very intelligent and they understand that. Everybody does. I'm sure other municipalities that have that same law do that same thing," he says.

That's not good enough for Aline. "As a citizen, we're expected to follow the law, so we expect the government to follow the law as well," Aline adds.

Town Administrator Bob Brown says no CWP holder has ever been cited for carrying a pistol concealed in Irmo. For further proof, he instructed WIS-TV to file a Freedom of Information Act Request, so town staff could sift through records to see what kind of citations, if any, had been issued.

The South Carolina Municipal Association says there are likely towns and counties and cities across the state who have seen ordinances nullified when new state laws are passed and supersede the lesser laws, but codes are required to be updated to clear the confusion; however, there's no regulation on how often updates are supposed to happen.

State Representative Chip Huggins (R- Lexington) has been involved and feels some clarity is necessary. He confirms state law voids part of the ordinance. "I'm certainly a CWP holder, and certainly would want to be able to utilize my CWP," Huggins says, and you know...I think the real thing is making it very simple and clear what is, in fact, the actual what can occur and what can't occur."

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