There have always been concealed weapons permits, despite the fact that liberals speak of them as if they were a right wing innovation. What has changed, and outraged the left, is the WAY the right wants such permits to be handed out. In South Carolina and other states, it used to be that you got a gun permit because you knew the right people. Now you have to EARN a permit, and the media considers that a dangerous and evil thing.

The old concealed weapons permits, the ones you got by knowing the right people or having political pull, had no restrictions. In South Carolina, if you helped the sheriff win his election or otherwise pleased him, he could appoint you a Special Deputy, an unpaid police officer. You would get a badge and the right to carry a gun anywhere a deputy could. Judges and other petty officials got unlimited permits routinely.

For citizens in general, there were no permits except under extreme conditions. If you wanted a permit and didn't have political pull, the burden of proof was on you.

Then came what is now known as "the concealed weapons permit movement." A majority of states, including almost all of the South and west, have passed laws which shift the burden of proof from the honest citizen to the petty officials. In other words, if a person proves his qualifications to have a permit, and if the CITIZEN feels he needs one, it is up to the police to prove he SHOULDN'T have one.

This movement, from political pull for permits to making people EARN permits, has infuriated the media, the political left, and many of our pettiest petty officials.

South Carolina's version of the EARNED permit is contained in the Law Abiding Citizens' Self-Defense Act of 1996. To get a permit, one must take a day long course, demonstrate competency on the firing range, and then undergo a three-month background check by SLED.

As what was called "the concealed weapons movement" advanced, the establishment panicked. To repeat, there had always been a concealed weapons law in every state and every county in the United States. The change was that one would have to EARN a permit rather than simply being a buddy with the local authorities.

"There will be a BLOOD BATH!" shrieked the press from coast to coast. Since then, some 24,500 permits have been EARNED in South Carolina. Nation-wide, the number of EARNED concealed weapons permits is well into the hundreds of thousands.

For the last half of the 1990's, the national and local media searched hungrily for some instance of misuse of these permits. There were NONE.

Since respectable conservatives have no memory, no one will ever remind the media that they screamed "BLOODBATH" when these EARNED permits were proposed. It would embarrass them, and respectable conservatives never say anything to embarrass liberals. That's how they stay respectable.

So, now that we have hundreds of thousands of permits and many years of experience with EARNED gun permits, it would seem obvious that the opponents were not only wrong, but laughably wrong.

Back when the establishment was screaming "BLOOD BATH!," liberal legislators could not stop the EARNED permits, so they did what the gun grabbers considered the next best thing. They heaped special restrictions on EARNED concealed weapons permits that were never even considered for permits handed out under the old buddy system.

Clearly, permit holders have earned the right to rid themselves of the special restrictions they are under, the ones no one even considered putting on permits awarded under the old buddy system.

Back in 1996, when they were shrieking "BLOODBATH!," the press demanded that people not be allowed to carry guns to the bank. They had lines like, "the law would allow armed men to go into banks!," evoking images of bank robbers. Needless to say, not one instance of any problem has been recorded anywhere when a permit holder carried his gun into a bank.

Now the papers say, "people carrying guns in bars!!" Right now, someone who has an EARNED concealed weapons permit cannot carry his gun into any place that serves alcoholic beverages, including most restaurants. Once again, no such restriction was ever considered when permits were awarded on the buddy system.

It turns out that criminals like this restriction. Criminals know that if they see someone coming out of a restaurant that sells beer, the law guarantees that that person will not be armed.

Grassroots, South Carolina ( is leading the growing fight in the state legislature to get these absurd limitations removed.

Many states do not have this restriction. And once again, where this restriction has not been applied, there has, once again, been NO INSTANCE of abuse of it by EARNED permit holders.

Nonetheless, once again the shriek is "BLOODBATH!," and all permit holders are portrayed as drunken bums who will shoot up the place.

There is a fundamental point here, though, that goes beyond whether or not a person has a gun permit. The theory of the media is that the average law-abiding citizen is exactly the same as the criminal population. A person who EARNS a permit and undergoes a three-month background check to prove he has no criminal record or any other problem, should be banned from self-defense as completely as a career criminal. They are the same.

This is not only factually absurd, it hideously insulting, and not just to permit holders. It reflects the establishment's attitude toward all law-abiding citizens. It is time for everyone to back the regular citizens who have EARNED their permits.