by Sam Spence
In a video last week titled "Protecting the 2nd Amendment," Republican candidate for governor Catherine Templeton claims that SLED ordered her to start carrying a gun because she "ruffled so many feathers" early in her first stint as an agency director in Columbia.
But SLED says that's not their practice.
As part of a series of soft-focused campaign videos tinged with a dramatic piano score, Templeton says that when she took over at the Dept. of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation in 2011 and "got rid of one in four entrenched bureaucrats," her work "made a lot of people angry."
Templeton goes on to claim, "The State Law Enforcement Division actually called and said 'Catherine, we need you to get a Concealed Weapons Permit. We need you to start carrying. We need you to protect yourself because you've made a lot of people mad.'"
The 2nd Amendment is under attack. As governor, I will pass Constitutional Carry. We shouldn't have to pay a fee to exercise our God given right to protect ourselves and our families. Will you join me? pic.twitter.com/vjAbVj9L20— Catherine Templeton for Governor (@TempletonCath) March 7, 2018
Asked about the exchange with then-Director Templeton, SLED Spokesman Thom Berry said that between 2010—2012, the agency did request SLED assistance over "concerns that an LLR employee who was being terminated would be disruptive."
But it was Templeton who "expressed personal safety concerns" of her own. In response, Berry says a SLED agent told her that "if she was concerned about her safety that she should consider obtaining a concealed weapons permit."
As a practice, SLED does not "tell, instruct or order a person to obtain a concealed weapons permit," Berry says. Rather, individual agents are given some discretion on how they respond to individual questions over whether to obtain CWPs.
Templeton is one of five Republicans, including Gov. Henry McMaster, who have declared as candidates for the GOP nomination for governor. The primary election for both parties takes place June 12, 2018.
Updated 2:26 p.m. with statement from Templeton campaign spokesman Mark Powell: "Catherine Templeton was firing entrenched bureaucrats in Columbia and there was concern about her safety. The media is quibbling over the difference between authorities saying you 'should' do something versus them saying you 'should consider' doing it. When there is concern about your safety, that’s a distinction without a difference."