An Overview of South Carolina Gun Laws

Knowing your local gun laws is an important part of being a responsible gun owner, but gun laws in the U.S. can be complicated and hard to keep up with because they are ever-changing and vary from state to state. If you’re in South Carolina, knowing the requirements to purchase or carry a gun in the state can save you headaches and prevent heavy consequences in the future.

South Carolina Gun Laws

Purchasing Firearms

South Carolina does not require a permit to purchase handguns, rifles, or long guns from a licensed dealer in-state. There is no waiting period involved when purchasing a firearm, but you do need to pass a background check and be at least 18 years old. However, when buying a firearm from a private individual, there are no background checks, firearms registration, or permit requirements.  

South Carolina state law also allows residents to purchase firearms out of state and bring them back to the state, as long as the sale meets all lawful requirements of both states, as well as all federal requirements.

Residents from other states can lawfully purchase firearms in South Carolina, as long as the sale meets all lawful requirements of both states, as well as all federal requirements.

Concealed and Open Carry

South Carolina allows both concealed and open carry but does not allow constitutional carry, so you must obtain a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) to carry a firearm, regardless of whether you carry the weapon concealed or out in the open. 

You do not need a permit, however, to possess a firearm on your own personal property. If you have a CWP you can open carry a weapon in your vehicle; if you don’t have a CWP you must keep your weapon in a closed glove compartment, closed console, closed trunk, or in a closed container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the luggage compartment of the vehicle.

South Carolina is considered a “shall-issue” state when it comes to concealed weapons permits. This means that as long as an applicant meets the basic requirements set out by the state, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, or SLED, is required to grant that applicant a concealed carry permit.

The basic requirements an applicant must meet for a concealed carry permit are:

  • At least 21 years of age
  • Have a valid form of picture ID
  • A resident of the state or a non-resident who owns property in the state
  • Have not been convicted of a felony or violent crime
  • Not prohibited by state law from using, handling, or possessing firearms 
  • Must submit proof of firearms training
  • Actual or corrected vision rated at 20/40 within six months of the date of application 
  • A complete set of fingerprints, unless prevented by a medical condition that is verified by a doctor 
  • Must meet all federal requirements for concealed carry

South Carolina state law section 23-31-215 (the “Open Carry with Training Act”) allows anyone with a CWP to also openly carry a concealable firearm or a firearm that measures less than 12” at its largest point, on them or in their vehicle. However, state law does not allow concealed or open carry of a weapon with a CWP into the following places: 

  • law enforcement, correctional, or detention facilities
  • courthouses or courtrooms
  • polling places on election days
  • restaurants where alcohol is served for on-premise consumption
  • offices of or the business meetings of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special purpose district
  • school or college athletic events not related to firearms
  • daycare facilities or preschool facilities
  • places where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law
  • churches or other established religious sanctuaries unless express permission is given by the appropriate church official or governing body
  • hospitals, medical clinics, doctor’s offices, or any other facilities where medical services or procedures are performed unless expressly authorized by the employer
  • any place clearly marked with a sign prohibiting the carrying of a concealable weapon

Non-residents can also conceal carry in South Carolina if they have a resident CWP from a state that South Carolina has reciprocity with. These states are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho (enhanced permit only), Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri (enhanced permit only), Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota (enhanced permit only), Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota (enhanced permit only), Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Likewise, residents with a South Carolina-issued CWP can conceal carry in any reciprocal state.

It is against the law for anyone to own or possess an automatic weapon, sawed-off rifle, or sawed-off shotgun. It is also against the law to fire a gun into an occupied building, or at a moving vehicle, building, or aircraft.

A South Carolina CWP is valid for five years, after which time you must apply for a renewal. Processing of a CWP application or renewal application takes 90 days.

Contact SeiferFlatow 

The confusion over what is and isn’t allowed by local gun laws can make it easy to accidentally violate these laws. A gun law violation can carry serious consequences, which can include fines, jail time, or losing the ability to carry a weapon. When this happens, it’s important to have a criminal attorney to turn to. The legal team at SeiferFlatow will use our knowledge and experience to help you build a solid defense and preserve your rights. Contact our South Carolina office to schedule a consultation or speak to an attorney today.