Every state and every major city in America has a tax-paid anti-gun lobby. That lobby wears police uniforms and gold braid on their hats.

In South Carolina the state-supported anti-gun lobby is called SLED, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.

In a proposal from Sen. Dave Zien to state of Wisconsin found at

Florida has the most studied concealed carry law and the one after which the bill is most closely modeled. From passage in 1987 to January 31, 1996, Florida had issued 320,571 carry licenses. Only 58, or 0.02%, have been revoked because the holder committed a crime (not necessarily violent) while in possession of a firearm. During the same period, over 300,000 firearm crimes were committed in Florida by non-licensees.

According to FBI uniform crime reports, after enactment of their concealed weapons law, while Florida's homicide rate was dropping 27% and its handgun homicide rate has dropped 38% while increasing 8% and 43% respectively in the U.S. as a whole. Florida's homicide rate has now dropped 41%.

When the concealed weapons law was proposed in 1992 the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) fought desperately against allowing permits for law-abiding citizens.

My information is that when they lost that fight, SLED officials fanned out over the state, telling store owners to put up "No Guns Allowed" signs to make permits as useless as possible.

Unofficially, of course.

I have talked to a lot of pro-gun people about this. Every one says, 1) Yes, it's true and 2) No one is allowed to complain about it.

South Carolina gun lobbies want to go along and get along, so SLED's anti-gun fixation is not mentioned by any decent person.

So I'll talk about it.

When the permit law came up for renewal, SLED did what any lobby has to do: it accepted the inevitable. Permit holders have done better than any type of police in handling their guns, so SLED did not try to get the law repealed.

When the time came for the legislature to renew the permit law, all that SLED and all the other anti-gun lobbies could say was, "Permits are working just fine, let's just keep them like they are."

Police brass want to go back to the good old days. Before the present law, sheriffs and the police doled out permits to people who could do them some political good.