South Carolina Gun Laws are based on the Article 1, Section 20 of South Carolina’s Constitution which reads, “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.”
In general, South Carolina Gun Laws do not require permit to purchase, registration and licensing of firearm owners. However, a person who wishes to possess a handgun outside his established dwelling place or business establishment must have a permit to carry.
Validity of Permits Issued Under South Carolina Gun Laws in Other Jurisdictions
Permits issued under South Carolina Gun Laws are valid in the following states:
- Idaho (the permit must be enhanced to be recognized by the state)
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
On the other hand, South Carolina Gun Laws only recognize permits issued from these states:
- Idaho (only enhanced Idaho pemits are honored)
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
Definition of “Dealer”
For a better understanding of the key provisions of South Carolina Gun Laws, be reminded that the term “dealer” is not only used in the statute to connote a person who is engaged in the business of selling firearms in retail. It also includes a person who is a pawnbroker.
Key Provisions of South Carolina Gun Laws
In addition to the general rules stated above, here is a closer look at the other main requirements and restrictions of South Carolina Gun Laws:
1. Purchasing a shotgun or a rifle in a state contiguous to South Carolina is permitted as long as there are no legal impediments present and that the purchase complies with the requirements set forth by South Carolina Gun Laws plus the other state involved.
2. A person is not permitted to purchase or possess any form of firearm if the following disqualifying factors are present:
- Conviction of a crime involving violence
- Membership in a criminal or rebellious organization
- A fugitive from justice
- Addiction in controlled or illegal substances
- Psychologically ill or suffering from mental incompetence
- Has a court ruling that bars the possession or ownership of firearms
3. An individual below 18 years of age is not allowed to possess or purchase a gun. However, if he is an active or reserve member of the US Armed Forces, he is allowed to possess a gun when on duty or training.
4. Carrying a firearm in school property (except in roads which are open for public traffic) or in publicly owned buildings without express authorization is considered as unlawful. This exempts law enforcement officials or permit holders who are within the part of the property that is a part of the insterstate highway rest area facility.
5. A person is not allowed to carry a concealed or unconcealed handgun except when:
- He is within his residence, his own business establishment or real property.
- He has a permit to carry granted by the State Law Enforcement Division. It must be remembered though that it should be within the bounds of the restrictions stated in his permit to carry.
- He is in a vehicle with his firearm securely stored in a closed glove compartment, closed console or closed trunk. In this case the person is allowed to have the handgun loaded if he wishes to.
- He is a member of the US Armed Forces, National Guard, State Militia or reserve forces. This applies only though while he is on duty.
- He is a licensed hunter or fisherman, provided that he is only traveling to and from the hunting and fishing venue.
- He is in possession or using the handgun in the ordinary course of his business which involves firearms.
- He belongs in a State-recognized civil organization that allows members to possess handguns.
6. In addition to the prohibitions stated in the item number 4 of this list, here are the places specified by South Carolina Gun Laws where carrying handguns are not allowed even when the person carrying it has a permit:
- Courtrooms or courthouses
- Law enforcement facilities
- Detention or correctional facilities
- Polling areas during the election
- Places specified by federal laws where carrying firearms are prohibited
- Private properties without the express consent of the owner
- Places of worship without authorization from the appropriate official
- Medical services facilities
- Offices of the governing bodies of the municipalities, counties, school districts or state
7. Machine guns, sawed-off rifles or sawed-off rifles are allowed as long as the possession complies with the requirements of federal laws.
8. Possessing or trading a firearm with obliterated or altered identification marks is prohibited.
9. Using a firearm with malicious intent or for the purpose of committing an unlawful act is punishable by law.
10. Discharging a firearm into a building occupied by people or from a vehicle is prohibited.
Concealed Handgun Permit to Carry Requirements
A person who wishes to secure a license to carry must be able to meet the following conditions set by South Carolina Gun Laws:
1. He must be at least 21 years of age.
2. A resident of South Carolina or a non-resident with a property in South Carolina.
3. Does not possess any of the disqualifying factors in connection to the ownership or possession of firearms.
4. He should have a good vision.
5. A proof of training in the proper handling of a handgun must be presented.
6. He must be able to completely fill up all the forms, submit all the additional documentary requirements (fingerprints, pictures and others), and pay the necessary fees (currently at $50).
It should be noted also that a person who is a member of the US Armed Forces and currently stationed in the State of South Carolina is qualified to apply for a permit to carry.
The right to make amendments in the regulation of firearms is solely reserved to the State Legislature by South Carolina Gun Laws.