The answer depends on whether you have a concealed weapon permit (CWP) or not. A CWP in South Carolina allows you to carry a concealed weapon in most places, although there is a long list of locations that are prohibited.
Without a CWP, your options for where you can carry a concealed weapon are extremely limited.
Whether you have a concealed weapon permit or not, it is important that you know the rules because, if you are carrying a concealed weapon in a prohibited area, you may be subject to arrest and prosecution for unlawful carrying of a handgun.
In this article, you will learn:
- What a concealed weapon permit is in South Carolina,
- How to get a concealed weapon permit in South Carolina,
- Where you can carry a concealed weapon with a CWP,
- Where you cannot carry a concealed weapon, and
- The potential penalties for unlawful carrying of a handgun in South Carolina.
Concealed Weapons in South Carolina
Where can a concealed weapon be carried in South Carolina?
Do you have a concealed weapons permit? If you have a CWP, you can carry a concealed weapon anywhere – but – there are many exceptions that we will discuss below.
If you do not have a CWP, your options are limited.
Where Can I Carry a Firearm in South Carolina if I Do Not Have a CWP?
South Carolina gun laws make it a crime to carry a firearm in South Carolina unless you fall into one of the exceptions listed in the statute. I won’t list all of the exceptions here, but the most important ones for most people include:
- If you have a CWP (but see the exceptions below);
- If you are in your home or on your property, you can carry a handgun and it doesn’t matter if it is open carry or concealed;
- If you are at your place of business (that you own), you can carry a handgun and it doesn’t matter if it is open carry or concealed;
- If you are on someone else’s property, in their home, or at their place of business and you have their permission, you can carry a handgun and it doesn’t matter if it is open carry or concealed;
- You can carry a handgun in your vehicle, but only if it is secured in a closed glove box, center console, trunk, or container in the luggage compartment; and
- You can carry a handgun on your motorcycle if it is secured in a saddlebag or other container attached to the bike.
What happens if police see a handgun on your person or on the floorboard of your car? Keep reading to find out.
Concealed Weapon Laws in South Carolina
If you are convicted of unlawful carrying of a handgun in South Carolina, police will confiscate your weapon and you are not likely to get it back from them. It is also a misdemeanor offense that carries up to a year in prison, a fine of $1000, or both.
Other firearm violations, like the sale of a firearm to a prohibited person, possession of a stolen handgun, or felon in possession of a handgun, are felony offenses that are punishable by up to five years in prison.
Is South Carolina an Open Carry State?
South Carolina is not an open carry state.
Whether you have a CWP or not, you are not permitted to open carry unless you are on your own property, you have the permission of the property owner, or are in the process of hunting/fishing.
Concealed Weapon Permits in South Carolina
How can you avoid an arrest for unlawful carry? Know the gun laws in South Carolina, and get a concealed weapon permit. Let’s look at how you apply for a CWP, and what the rules are for a CWP in South Carolina.
How to Apply for a CWP in South Carolina
You are required to take a firearms safety class before SLED will issue a CWP – in many cases, your instructor will help you to complete the remaining steps to apply for your permit.
SLED will require you to provide them with:
- An application,
- Your photo ID,
- Proof of residency,
- Proof of 20/40 vision or better,
- Documentation that you completed the required firearms training,
- A fingerprint card from your local sheriff’s office, and
- A $50 application fee.
If you meet all requirements, SLED must issue the permit. If they deny the permit, there is an administrative appeal process with strict deadlines – contact your attorney for help appealing the decision.
Where You Can Use Your CWP
Your CWP allows you to carry a concealed firearm in any location except those listed below. South Carolina is not an open carry state, so the weapon must be concealed at all times.
Where You Cannot Use Your CWP
SC Code Section 23-31-215 (M) contains a list of the locations where firearms are prohibited, even with a CWP, including:
- Police stations,
- Polling places,
- Offices or business meetings of counties, municipalities, or public school districts,
- School athletic events,
- Churches without permission,
- Hospitals or medical offices without permission, and
- Any place that is marked with a sign prohibiting concealed weapons.
A violation of this section is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and revocation of the concealed weapon permit for 5 years.
Questions About Concealed Weapons in South Carolina?
If you have been charged with a crime under South Carolina’s gun laws, get an experienced criminal defense lawyer on your side immediately who can begin preparing your defense, work to get your case dismissed, negotiate on your behalf, and try your case to a jury when necessary.
Call 843-761-3840 or use this form to contact us today to discuss your case and start working towards the best possible outcome for you.
Ready To Speak With An Attorney?
Let’s discuss the details of your case and see if we can help.