The state of South Carolina operates on a shall-issue policy where concealed weapons permits are issued at the state level by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to those who are able to meet the requirements laid out by the law. Moreover, a permit is not a requirement when purchasing a handgun from a private individual, but the transaction must only be done after a thorough background check, and the firearms have been registered.
Carrying a firearm openly within the state of South Carolina is illegal. However, concealed carry is allowed, provided that the carrier has a South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit or a license./permit from a state that South Carolina honours. Residents, non-residents who own property within the state or military personnel are allowed to apply for a gun permit. The applicant must be at least 21 years old and has completed a firearms training course that has been approved by the state.
If you are planning to visit South Carolina, or you are resident of the state, read the following sections as it will discuss all relevant gun laws that operate within the state. Let’s start with the basics:
South Carolina CCW Handgun Requirements
All applicants for a South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) must:
- Be at least 21 years old;
- Have completed an approved firearms training class;
- Reside in South Carolina, or if a resident of another state, submit proof you own property in South Carolina;
- Not have been convicted of a violent crime that is a felony;
- Have an actual or corrected vision of 20/40;
- Not, by order of a circuit judge or county court judge of South Carolina, been adjudged unfit to carry or possess a firearm
On top of the that, pursuant to federal laws, the following are not allowed to apply for a gun permit in South Carolina:
- Fugitives from justice
- Persons who are unlawful users of or are addicted to narcotics or any other controlled substances (including medical marijuana, see below)
- Persons adjudicated as a mental defective or who have been committed to a mental institution
- Persons who have been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
- Persons who are under indictment for a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
- Military veterans discharged under dishonourable conditions
- Persons who have renounced U.S. citizenship
- Aliens illegally in the U.S.
- Persons subject to a court order that restrains them from harassing, stalking or threatening an intimate partner or child of such intimate partner
- And persons convicted in any court of a misdemeanour crime of domestic violence
Some exceptions may apply.
Applicants for new CWPs have the choice between submitting a paper application or using the online IdentoGo registration system. At this time, SLED will continue to process all submitted applications received from the IdentoGo appointments made online and any applications made by mail. To use the online system, applicants begin the application online and set up an appointment at an available IdentoGo site. At the IdentoGo site, you can submit your CWP application documentation and have your fingerprints taken and sent to SLED electronically. Here’s a summary of the steps to take when applying for a CWP in South Carolina:
Complete a firearm training course if required.
To submit a paper application, review the guide for completing a new or renewal CWP paper application and download the application form.
To use the online system go to the IdentoGo site.
Submit the following documents:
For paper applications, mail information to:
Wait for the notification on whether your application is approved or denied.
Note: Active-duty military applicants must also submit military orders. Retired or former military applicants must submit a copy of their DD214. If you are a Disabled Veteran or Retired Law Enforcement, you are EXEMPT from paying the $50 fee, but you must provide documentation proving such status.
In the state of South Carolina, all gun permit renewals must be mailed 90-120 days before the current permit expires. If the permit under your name has been expired for more than 18 months, you can no longer renew your license via the online platform, and you need to submit a paper renewal form and copy of your current SCDL in person. Applicants for license renewals also have the choice between submitting a paper application or using the online IdentoGo registration system. At this time, SLED will continue to process all submitted applications received from the IdentoGo appointments made online and any applications made by mail.
Follow the steps below to renew your South Carolina Concealed Weapon Permit:
Submit a completed application together with the following documents:
For paper renewals, send to:
SC Law Enforcement Division (SLED)
You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.
Please note that a Disabled Veteran or Retired Law Enforcement is EXEMPT from paying the $50 fee, but must provide documentation proving such status.
The following are the fees associated with applying for and renewing a South Carolina Concealed Weapon Permit:
South Carolina CCW Handgun Laws
Must Notify Officer
YES – MUST INFORM OFFICER
The South Carolina gun laws state that you must inform a law enforcement officer you have a firearm when approached on official business. You are also legally required to carry your permit at all times during which the permittee is in actual possession of a concealed handgun.
23.31.215 – Issuance of permits
No Weapons Signs Enforced
South Carolina gun laws give the force of law to "No Weapons" signs. There are legal penalties for entering a private property or business that has posted these signs.
YES – WITHOUT A PERMIT
Carrying a handgun inside a vehicle is legal without a gun permit as long as the carrier can legally own a firearm, and as long as the pistol is placed in a closed glove box, console, or trunk of the vehicle. If there is no trunk, then the firearm can be placed in the luggage area enclosed in a container and secured with fasteners. Please note that you can be charged for the violation of the law if the gun is placed in any other location, aside from what was mentioned above.
16.23.20 – Exceptions to unlawful carry
21.31.230 – Carry between vehicle & accommodation
NO – WITH OR WITHOUT A PERMIT
Open carry and concealed carry is illegal in the state of South Carolina.
South Carolina is NOT a constitutional carry state.
South Carolina Gun Forms & Supporting Documentation
Purchase and Possession
All residents of South Carolina who may lawfully own a handgun, shotgun or rifle in South Carolina may also purchase a firearm in any other state given that the buyer satisfies all laws and regulations enforced by the perspective state and that the sale is facilitated by a federally licensed dealer, collector or manufacturer.
All lawful handguns, shotguns and rifles may be possessed in South Carolina unless the person in question is disqualified by state law. The following persons are prohibited from possessing a firearm:
- Members of subversive or anti-government rebellion groups.
- Persons actively fleeing the judgment of the law.
- Convicts of violent crimes.
- Addicts of alcohol or any controlled substance or habitual users of any such substance in which motor or judgment skills are impaired.
- Minors (persons under 18 years of age). This regulation does not apply to minors engaged in service or training with the United States Military or R. O. T. C. or minors in a car in which the firearm is properly sealed in the vehicle.
- Persons adjudicated as mentally insane or incompetent or inept to carry a handgun.
Carrying a Firearm
It is illegal in the state of South Carolina to carry any firearm in a public building, unless one obtains explicit permission from an administrator of the building, or on the premises of any school, public or private, or school-sponsored event. This regulation does not pertain to law enforcement officers or to lawful holders of concealed firearms permits while on a highway or rest stop.
No citizen may carry a concealed or blatant handgun on his or her person. This law does not apply to:
- Active duty personnel of the United States Military or National Guard.
- Lawful hunters or fishermen when engaging in hunting or fishing activities.
- Personnel or guards of correctional facilities.
- Current members of clubs, groups or organizations dedicated to target shooting with firearms or collecting firearms including times required for transportation to and from events, exhibitions or competitions.
- Persons transporting an unloaded firearm from the place of purchase to one’s home or residence given that the firearm is properly covered and sealed within the vehicle.
- Persons carrying a firearm in one’s private residence or business.
- Members of the United States Military or an authorized civilian group while participating in a parade or while in transit o or from their place of meeting.
- Persons holding a State Law Enforcement Division issued permit who lawfully carry a handgun in accordance with all state and federal laws.
- Handguns located in sealed compartments of a car, including the trunk, loaded or unloaded.
All permits and their subsequently renewed versions may be acquired for a fee of $50. Permits shall be recognized throughout the state of South Carolina for a period of no more than 4 years. Renewals require the submission of a renewal application, South Carolina driver’s license or state identification and the renewal fee. Permit holders of South Carolina who change their residence to a different state must surrender their permits. Any person denied a permit may appeal the decision at the State Law Enforcement Division.
In South Carolina, the State Law Enforcement Division will issue a permit to carry a concealed handgun to any:
- Resident of the state;
- Military personnel who has received orders of a permanent change of station;
- Person who owns property in South Carolina and is not a resident;
- Person 21 years of age or older;
- Person not explicitly prohibited by legal, medical or psychological judgment from possessing a firearm;
- Person who provides proof of residence, proof of 20/40 or corrected 20/40 vision, a complete set of fingerprints, a color photograph showing one’s complete face, and a document evidencing completion of a firearms training course.
South Carolina concealed handgun permits shall not be recognized in the following places:
- Correctional or penal facilities;
- Facilities owned and operated by any law enforcement branch;
- Facilities designated as courthouses or courtrooms or for judicial proceedings;
- Offices or proceedings of any governing body of a municipality, school district, county or special purpose district;
- Designated polling places on official election days;
- Any day care, pre-school, elementary, middle, secondary school or college or any non-firearms sporting event sponsored by the school or college;
- Medical facilities;
- Private property when the property owner prohibits the carrying of firearms;
- Gatherings or places of religious worship without the permission of an administrator of the religious group;
- Buildings or locations where it is prohibited to carry a firearm by federal law;
- Businesses that purvey alcohol (violating this law will result in an additional penalty of 3 years or a fine of $2000)
- Within any park or facility of the South Carolina Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism with the exception of any explicitly designated firearms area.
All lawful and licensed hunters may possess firearms and carry them in the trunks of their vehicles or in sealed compartments of their vehicles given that it is the proper hunting season.
Lawful property owners in the state of South Carolina are within their rights to prohibit the carrying of concealed handguns by posting signs of prohibition at the entrance of the building or property. Hunters who hold permits to carry concealed firearms may carry handguns regardless of the hunting season.
Antiques & Replicas
The state of South Carolina adheres to the standards of the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms pertinent to the classification of collectors’ firearms, antiques and display weapons. The purchase of the aforementioned firearms are not accountable to South Carolina firearms purchase regulations; however, they shall treated as operable firearms in matters of carrying and are subject to all applicable state laws.
The state of South Carolina defines a “machine gun” as any firearm designed or capable of shooting more than one shot, automatically, by a single operation of the trigger and without the necessity of reloading. This includes collections of components that may be readily assembled into a machine gun.
It is illegal to possess any machine gun, variation of a machine gun or “sawed-off” rifle or shotgun. This regulation does not apply to active duty members of the United States Military, National Guard, correctional or penal facility guards, law enforcement officers, federally licensed manufacturers of machine guns, and persons specially licensed by an agency of the federal government or the Stat Law Enforcement Division to purchase machine guns.
Machine guns may be possessed for the purpose of display if they are inoperable and cannot be used. All display or operable machine guns must be properly registered through the State Law Enforcement Division. Sawed-off rifles and shotguns that comply with all state and federal laws may be lawfully possessed.
No person may file a noise violation claim against a firing range that was established prior to the citizen taking up residence near the range.
S.C. CODE ANN. § 31-18-30 (2011)
§ 31-18-30. Nuisance action.
(A) Except as provided in this subsection, a person may not maintain a nuisance action for noise against a shooting range, or the owners, operators, or users of the range, located in the vicinity of that person's property if the shooting range was established as of the date the person acquired the property. If there is a substantial change in the use of the range after the person acquires the property, the person may maintain a nuisance action if the action is brought within three years from the beginning of the substantial change.
(B) A person who owns property in the vicinity of a shooting range that was established after the person acquired the property may maintain a nuisance action for noise against that shooting range, or the owners, operators, or users of the range, only if the action is brought within five years after establishment of the range or three years after a substantial change in use of the range.
(C) If there has been no shooting activity at a range for a period of three years, resumption of shooting is considered establishment of a new shooting range for purposes of this section. The three-year period shall be tolled if shooting activity ceases due to legal action against the shooting range or the owners, operators, or users of the shooting range.
South Caroline Concealed Carry Reciprocity
South Carolina's Reciprocity States
States that honor a South Carolina ccw permit
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
South Carolina honors these state ccw permits
RESIDENTIAL PERMITS ONLY
Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, Wyoming
States that will not accept a South Carolina ccw permit
California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Washington
Places where you CAN'T carry in South Carolina
- Law enforcement office or facility.
- Detention or correctional facility.
- Courthouse or courtroom.
- Polling place on election days.
- Any publicly owned building or property without permission from persons in charge.
- State Capitol building or grounds. CWP permit holders can leave their firearm locked in a vehicle.
- Office of or the business meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special purpose district.
- School or college athletic event not related to firearms.
- Daycare or preschool facility.
- Place where federal law prohibits the carrying of firearms.
- Church or other established religious sanctuary.
- Hospital, doctor's office, medical clinic, or any building medical services are performed in. Unless given permission by the employer.
- Place clearly marked with a sign prohibiting the carrying of a concealable weapon on the premises.
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law.
Places where you CAN carry in South Carolina
- State parks
- State and national forests
- Roadside rest areas
- All areas of the state - except those listed as Off-Limits
Persons who are convicted of carrying or using a firearm while committing burglary, murder, attempted murder, assault, arson, robbery, drug trafficking, voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping, or any crime relating to sexual misconduct shall incur an additional 5 year penalty added to the term received for the crime itself.
It is illegal in South Carolina to:
- Discharge a firearm at any building or residence, aircraft, vehicle, or watercraft occupied other persons.
- Set a spring trap or spring gun that is designed or capable of remotely discharging a firearm.
- Discharge a firearm when intoxicated with any controlled substance or alcohol.
- Willfully sell, buy, pawn, trade, receive, transport or otherwise possess a handgun with an altered or damaged serial number.
- Knowingly sell, buy, pawn, trade, receive, transport or otherwise possess a stolen handgun.
The state of South Carolina preempts the regulation and creation of legislation pertinent to firearms. No locality, municipality, county or political subdivision may alter or rewrite existing firearms legislation or enact new legislation or ordinances regarding the sale, purchase, possession, transportation, taxation, carrying or use of firearms.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who issues a permit?
Concealed carry permits/licenses are issued by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
How long is the processing time?
Applying for or renewing a gun permit in South Carolina can take up to 90 days from the receipt of the application.
Can I do an online renewal if my address changed?
No. You need to submit your renewal application in paper form and mail it.
How do I get a replacement permit?
Download the replacement permit form and follow the instructions.
How long does it take to get a replacement?
It can take between 45 and 90 days.
Do I need training again for an expired permit?
No, nothing in the law says you must redo training if your permit has expired for more than 60 days past the expiry date.
Are disabled veterans exempt from the fee?
A Disabled Veteran or Retired Law Enforcement is EXEMPT from paying the $50 fee, but must provide documentation proving such status.
Do I need training if I was in the military?
If you are an active member of the military, you are exempt from training. For retired members of the military, you will only need to do the legal part of the training.
South Carolina Off Limits Statues
23-31-215 (M). - Purchase of Rifles and Shotguns
A permit issued pursuant to this section does not authorize a permit holder to carry a concealable weapon into a:
(1) law enforcement, correctional, or detention facility;
(2) courthouse or courtroom;
(3) polling place on election days;
(4) office of or the business meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special purpose district;
(5) school or college athletic event not related to firearms;
(6) day care facility or pre-school facility;
(7) place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law;
(8) church or other established religious sanctuary unless express permission is given by the appropriate church official or governing body;
(9) hospital, medical clinic, doctor's office, or any other facility where medical services or procedures are performed unless expressly authorized by the employer; or
(10) place clearly marked with a sign prohibiting the carrying of a concealable weapon on the premises pursuant to Sections 23-31-220 and 23-31-235. Except that a property owner or an agent acting on his behalf, by express written consent, may allow individuals of his choosing to enter onto property regardless of any posted sign to the contrary. A person who violates a provision of this item, whether the violation is willful or not, only may be charged with a violation of Section 16-11-620 and must not be charged with or penalized
for a violation of this subsection. Except as provided for in item (10), a person who willfully violates a provision of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both, at the discretion of the court and have his permit revoked for five years.
2016 Act No. 223 (H.3799), Section 1
2016 Act No. 223 (H.3799), Section 1 23-31-210. - Definitions as Used in This Article
(5) "Concealable weapon" means a firearm having a length of less than twelve inches measured along its greatest dimension that must be carried 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.
2014 Act No. 123 (S.308)
16-23-420. - Possession of Firearm on School Property; Concealed Weapons
(A) It is unlawful for a person to possess a firearm of any kind on any premises or property owned, operated, or controlled by a private or public school, college, university, technical college, other post-secondary institution, or in any publicly owned building, without the express permission of the authorities in charge of the premises or property. The provisions of this subsection related to any premises or property owned, operated, or controlled by a private or public school, college, university, technical college, or other postsecondary institution, do not apply to a person who is authorized to carry a concealed weapon pursuant to Article 4, Chapter 31, Title 23 when the weapon remains inside an attended or locked motor vehicle and is 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 of the vehicle.
2009 Act No. 32, Section 2
23-31-225. - Carrying Concealed Weapons Into Residences or Dwellings
No person who holds a permit issued pursuant to Article 4, Chapter 31, Title 23 may carry a concealable weapon into the residence or dwelling place of another person without the express permission of the owner or person in legal control or possession, as appropriate. A person who violates this provision is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one thousand dollars or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both, at the discretion of the court and have his permit revoked for five years.
History: 1996 Act No. 464
58-23-1820. - Definitions
(a) "passenger" means any individual served by a public transportation provider including charter bus activities;
(b) "bus" means any passenger bus or other motor vehicle having a seating capacity of not less than ten passengers operated by a public transportation provider for the purpose of carrying passengers, including charter passengers;
(c) "public transportation" is as defined in item (10) of Section 58-25-20;
(d) "public transportation provider" means any operator who offers or delivers public transportation;
(e) "public transportation vehicle" means any configuration of equipment for the purpose of providing public transportation.
History: 1986 Act No. 405, Eff May 12, 1986.
58-23-1830. - General Prohibitions; Persons Who May Be Refused Transportation; Violations and Penalties
(a) It is unlawful for any passenger to commit any of the following acts in a bus or any other public transportation vehicle:
(3) carry or possess any weapon, explosives, acids, other dangerous articles, or live animals, except for a seeing eye dog or a hearing ear dog properly harnessed and accompanied by its owner, small animals properly packaged, or weapons carried by or animals used by a law enforcement official;
(d) Any person violating the provisions of subsection (a) of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction for a first offense must be imprisoned for not more than thirty days or fined not more than two hundred dollars, for a second offense, imprisoned for not more than sixty days or fined not more than five hundred dollars, or both, and for a third or subsequent offense, imprisoned for not more than ninety days or fined not more than one thousand dollars, or both.
History: 1986 Act No. 405, May 12, 1986.