A Guide to South Carolina Concealed Carry
Summary of South Carolina Gun Laws
STATE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION
"A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division issues concealed handgun permits in this shall-issue state of South Carolina (SLED).
When purchasing a handgun from a private individual, no license, background check, or registration of firearms is necessary.
State under the Castle Doctrine is South Carolina. A person who is attacked in a location where they have a right to be and who is not doing anything illegal has no need to flee and is free to defend themselves.
When employing lethal force that is intended or likely to inflict death or serious bodily injury to another person, a person is deemed to have a reasonable fear of imminent hazard of death or great bodily injury to themselves or another person if the individual:
- if the person being used lethal force against is engaged in unlawful and forcible entry, has engaged in unlawful and forcible entry, or is removing or attempting to remove another person against that person's will from the dwelling, habitation, or inhabited vehicle;
- Whoever uses lethal force is aware of, or has cause to suspect, that an unlawful and coercive entry is taking place, or that an unlawful and coercive act has taken place.
A person who is attacked while not engaging in unlawful activity and in a place where they have a right to be, such as their place of business, is not obligated to flee and has the right to defend themselves by using any means necessary, including deadly force, if they reasonably believe it will prevent death or serious bodily harm to themselves or another person, or the commission of a violent crime.
Whether temporary or permanent, movable or stationary, with a roof over it, including a tent, and intended to be occupied by people residing there at night, a building or conveyance of any type, including an attached porch, is referred to as a "dwelling."
A "residence" is a place where someone lives, either permanently or temporarily, or visits as a visitor who has been invited in.
A conveyance of any kind, whether or not it is powered by a motor, and intended to move either people or things is referred to as a "vehicle."
[S.C. Code Ann. § 16-11-440]
Does South Carolina allow constitutional carry?
No. South Carolina does not allow constitutional carry.
Is open carry permitted in South Carolina?
Yes, open carry is permitted for residents with a South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) and for non-residents with a license or permit from a state that South Carolina honors as of the Governor's signature of HB 3094. However, when a permit is issued for a public protest, rally, fair, march, festival, or other planned event, the municipality may temporarily restrict the normally legal open carry of a handgun on public property by placing signs banning concealable weapons.
[S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31-210(5)]
During rallies, festivals, and other activities that require a city permit in the city of Columbia, open carry is forbidden inside city-owned structures (without prior written approval from the city manager).
If South Carolina requires a permit to carry a concealed firearm, how are those permits issued?
South Carolina is a Shall-Issue State.
What is the minimum age in South Carolina to get a concealed carry permit?
The minimum to carry concealed in South Carolina is 21.
Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in South Carolina with a concealed carry permit (or under permitless carry if applicable)?
No. "Concealable weapon" means a firearm having a length of less than 12" in length carried openly on one’s person or in a manner that is hidden from public view in normal wear of clothing except when needed for self defense, defense of others, and the protection of real or personal property.
[S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31-210(5)]
Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in South Carolina?
Yes. Stun guns and Tasers are legal to purchase and possess without a permit.
Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in South Carolina?
Yes, it is lawful to possess a container not exceeding 50cc of tear gas for self-defense purposes only.
Does South Carolina have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?
No. South Carolina does not regulate magazine capacity for handguns.
Does South Carolina have ammunition restrictions?
Yes. The possession and sale of teflon-coated ammunition is prohibited.
Can you carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in South Carolina?
Yes, as of August 15, 2021, concealed or open carry is allowed with a South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit or a license/permit from a state that South Carolina honors. In addition, permit holders may transport their firearm under a seat in a vehicle, or in any open or closed storage compartment within the vehicle's passenger compartment.
Without a permit the firearm must be secured 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.
Can you carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in South Carolina?
Yes, with a South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit or a license/permit from a state that South Carolina honors
[S.C. Code Ann. § 16-23-420(f)]
Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forests and Wildlife Management Areas in South Carolina?
Yes, with a South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit or a license/permit from a state that South Carolina honors. See the National Parks webpage for links to each Park in South Carolina.
[S.C. Code Ann. § 51-3-145(G) and S.C. DNR Public Lands Regulations § 123-203(B)]
Can you carry a concealed firearm in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in South Carolina?
Yes, with a South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit or a license/permit from a state that South Carolina honors, unless posted and provided you do not consume any alcohol.
Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in South Carolina?
An innkeeper may refuse or deny any accommodations, facilities, or privileges of a lodging establishment to a person whom the innkeeper reasonably believes is bringing in property which may be dangerous to other persons including, but not limited to, firearms or explosives. The innkeeper may also eject a person from the lodging establishment premises for that reason. The individual hotel should be contacted to inquire about it's concealed carry policy.
[S.C. Code Ann. §§ 45-2-30(A)(1)(4) and 45-2-60)]
Does South Carolina have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?
A public or private employer may post signage prohibiting concealed and/or openly carried firearms on the premises of the business or work place. They may also prohibit firearms while using any machinery, vehicle, or equipment owned or operated by the business.
Do you have a duty to inform a police officer that you're carrying a concealed firearm in South Carolina?
Yes. You have a duty to inform a law enforcement officer that you're carrying a concealed firearm in South Carolina.
[S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31-215(K)]
Is my South Carolina driver’s license linked to my South Carolina CCW license?
No, in South Carolina your drivers license is not linked with your CCW License.
Are "No Weapons Allowed" signs enforced in South Carolina? If yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.
Yes. All signs must be posted at each entrance into a building where a concealable weapon permit holder is prohibited from carrying a concealable weapon, whether openly or concealed and must read, 'NO CONCEALABLE WEAPONS ALLOWED'.
[S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31-235 and, as of 8/16/2021, § 23-31-220]
Does South Carolina have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e. Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?
The state has preemption of firearms laws in South Carolina, except municipalities may regulate the careless or negligent discharge of firearms and may temporarily restrict the otherwise lawful open carry of a firearm on public property when a permit is issued for a public protest, rally, fair, parade, festival, or other organized event by posting signs prohibiting concealable weapons. A governing body putting a restriction on open carry needs to give a specific area, duration, and manner for the restriction and provide prior notice of the restriction. The restriction may also not be extended past the start and end of the event, and an event can’t be scheduled for a length of time to abuse this part of the law.
[S.C. Code Ann. §§ 23-31-510 and S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31-520]
Does South Carolina have a red flag law?
No. South Carolina does not have a red flag law. Although the state has preemption, the City of Columbia passed an ERPO ordinance in September 2019.
Does South Carolina state law define brandishing?
No definition of brandishing was found in South Carolina law.
However, it is unlawful for a person to present or point at another person a loaded or unloaded firearm. This section must not be construed to abridge the right of self-defense or to apply to theatricals or like performances.
Does South Carolina have laws regarding carrying a concealed firearm while using alcohol or controlled substances?
Not while consuming or under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance.
As a responsibly armed American, regardless of the laws in your state, it is unwise to carry while under the influence of any substance that could impair your judgement, slow your reaction times, or impact your decision-making abilities. Any decision you make while carrying a firearm could have life-altering consequences.
Does South Carolina issue concealed carry permits to non-residents?
Yes, to non-residents who own property in the state and military personnel stationed in South Carolina.
Does South Carolina allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?
South Carolina makes the information available for law enforcement. In addition, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) must publish a report annually during the first quarter which includes detailed information regarding individuals who have had their permit revoked and the reason for the revocation.
Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in South Carolina?
Are background checks required for private gun sales in South Carolina?
No. Private firearms transfers are not subject to a background check requirement, although federal and state purchaser prohibitions, including age restrictions, still apply. It is recommended that you retain any sales receipts to prove ownership of the gun.
Does my current South Carolina concealed carry permit exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase a firearm?
Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in South Carolina?
Do handguns need to be registered in South Carolina?
No. Handgun registration is not required in South Carolina.
What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in South Carolina?
You must be at least 18 years old to possess or transport a handgun in South Carolina.
Can I possess/carry a handgun in my home without a permit in South Carolina?
Yes. A permit is not required for anyone legally entitled to carry a firearm in the person’s home, real property or fixed place of business.
[S.C. Code Ann. §§ 16-23-20(8) and (13)]
*This page is meant for information purposes only. If you have any other questions please consult with your lawyer or even check out another great resource here.