By: José Niño
In the present COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers have done everything possible to make Americans’ lives more complicated. Now, lawful Americans could find themselves in a pickle if they’re outside wearing a mask and concealed carrying.
Generalized crises like these provide opportunities for demagogues to exploit and use their power to infringe people’s civil liberties. In this case, they can double-dip by not only imposing arbitrary public health mandates but also potentially infringe on people’s right to bear arms.
Criminals obviously wear masks to maintain anonymity and keep themselves from being arrested. And it appears common sense is actually prevailing as states recognize the difference between mask wearing in a time of a pandemic and the use of masks by criminals.
According to The State, wearing masks is not permitted on any “lane, walk, alley, street, road, public way or highway” in South Carolina. The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SCLED) stated that lawful gun owners don’t have to be apprehensive about carrying in certain municipal jurisdictions implementing mask mandates.
“Accordingly, there is no South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) law that prohibits a South Carolina CWP holder from wearing a mask to comply with a city or a county health ordinance or to help stop the spread of COVID-19 while carrying a concealed weapon in South Carolina,” the SCLED statement declared.
In states like Illinois, where being armed and masked is illegal, there has been a heated debate about the issue after the state imposed a mask mandate on all Illinois residents. Illinois law enforcement did, however, set the record straight on concealed carry during the Wuhan virus pandemic. “Somebody who is legally carrying and not committing a crime, the mask isn’t going to be an issue,” McLean County Sheriff Jon Sandage declared.
Additionally, the Illinois State Police issued this statement following Gov. J. B. Pritzker’s issuance of an executive order in April imposing the use of face masks:
“The Governor’s Executive Order regarding the wearing of masks or protective facial coverings in public settings during this serious global pandemic was not intended to negatively impact permit holders under the Illinois Concealed Carry Act while legally carrying firearms. The Executive Order does not require or suggest that law enforcement should arrest or criminally charge conceal carry license permit holders for wearing protective masks while in public as long as they are complying with the other provisions of the Illinois Concealed Carry Act and are not committing any other violations of Illinois law.”
In Georgia’s case, the state has an anti-mask law that was passed in 1951 in response to Ku Klux Klan activity. Back in April, Gov. Brian Kemp suspended the law by signing an executive order declaring that the law “shall not apply to any person wearing ‘a mask, hood, or device by which any portion of the face is so hidden, concealed, or covered as to conceal the identity of the wearer’ if that person is wearing such device for the purpose of complying with the guidance of any healthcare agency or to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
Despite the good news for the time being, gun owners should never rest. While we do enjoy rights that make America the envy of the world, they’re not free and must be defended at all times. We live in an era where the Left is becoming more predatory and unhinged, and they’re ready to do what it takes to destroy our freedoms.
José Niño is a Venezuelan American freelance writer based in Austin, Texas. Sign up for his mailing list here. Contact him via Facebook, Twitter, or email him at [email protected]. Get his e-book, The 10 Myths of Gun Control, here.