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Call Collett: March with gun prompts flurry of concern

A march this weekend in the City of Charleston garnered attention for the methods instead of the message.

A member of the New Black Panther Party marched this weekend openly carrying his weapon, which appeared to be loaded.

A viewer called Collett wanting to know how or if the move was legal.

Organizers of the march told News 2 the goal in carrying the gun is to raise awareness of the legal rights to openly carry.

“It's better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it,” the group’s legal advisor, Bobby Worthy, told News 2’s Rebecca Collett.   

Worthy pointed out criminals don't openly carry, and he said if more people armed themselves this way they wouldn't be victimized. 

“Harm yourself or arm yourself,” he said. 

Both the City of Charleston Police and an ATF agent confirmed to News 2 openly carrying a long gun isn't against any laws in South Carolina. The laws vary state by state.  The laws about concealing a weapon only apply to handguns.

But the sight was unnerving to some. At least one person called 911 to report the march.

Senator Marlon Kimpson, a strong supporter of gun law reform, responded to the march telling News 2, “Just because it’s legally permissible, doesn’t mean it’s an exercise of good judgement. I’ve tried to reform our state guns laws but so far, to no avail.  Citizens should be equally “freaked out” at the scores of Confederate groups that regularly march and demonstrate in public while brandishing military artillery.”  

This group has been marching with long guns since the 1960s, according to Worthy.

The group, joined by other community groups, was marching in support of Timothy Taylor.   Taylor was sentenced for his role in a 2011 armed robbery, he completed the terms of that sentence in 2015.

In 2016, an inmate accused Taylor of involvement in the disappearance of 17-year-old Brittanee Drexel. After the accusation, federal agents opened another case against Taylor for the same armed robbery for which he'd already been punished. He has not been charged in Drexel's disappearance.

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