Basic South Carolina Firearms Rights
"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." Second Amendment, United States Constitution.
Generally speaking, unless you have been convicted of a crime that carries a year or more in prison, been given a dishonorable discharge from the military, or have been convicted of a crime of violence against a member of your household, you may lawfully own a firearm. See 18 U.S.C. 922(g) for a full list of prohibitions.
South Carolina references "handguns" throughout its code of laws and provides specific provisions on how those weapons may be lawfully carried. If a person carries a handgun unlawfully, the penalties can be severe, even for a first time offender. Since we are all "presumed" to know the law, below you will find some information on how to lawfully carry a handgun in South Carolina.
According to S.C. Code Ann. Sec. 16-23-10, "Handgun" is defined as "any firearm designed to expel a projectile and designed to be fired from the hand, but shall not include any firearm generally recognized or classified as an antique, curiosity, or collector's item, or any that does not fire fixed cartridges."
If one has a concealed carry permit, that person may carry the handgun concealed so long as he/she is carrying in conformance with the provisions of the concealed carry law. However, since most people do not have a concealed carry permit, below will address the the most common ways, according to S.C. Code Ann. Sec. 16-23-20, non-prohibited persons may carry a handgun.
1. Licensed hunters or fishermen who are engaged in hunting or fishing or going to or from their places of hunting or fishing while in a vehicle or on foot may carry a handgun concealed or open carried.
2. Persons in their home or upon their real property or persons who have the permission of the owner or the person in legal possession or the person in legal control of the home or real property may carry a handgun concealed or open carried.
3. In a vehicle if the handgun is (1) secured in a closed glove compartment, (2) closed console, (3) closed trunk, or (4) in a closed container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the luggage compartment of the vehicle.
4. The owner or the person in legal possession or the person in legal control of a fixed place of business, while at the fixed place of business, and the employee of a fixed place of business, other than a business subject to S.C. Code Ann. Sec. 16-23-465, while at the place of business; however, the employee may exercise this privilege only after: (a) acquiring a concealed carry permit and (b) obtaining the permission of the owner or person in legal control or legal possession of the premises.
5. A person while transferring a handgun directly from or to a vehicle and a location specified in the South Carolina Code where one may legally possess the handgun.
6. Any person on a motorcycle when the pistol is secured in a closed saddlebag or other similar closed accessory container attached, whether permanently or temporarily, to the motorcycle.
These are some methods that persons without concealed carry permits may lawfully carry, move, and store a handgun in accordance with South Carolina law.
If you have questions regarding this or another legal issue, or if you have been charged with a crime related to the carrying or possession of a firearm, please contact me today either through the contact page on my website or at (843) 761-0610.
Brady Vannoy is an attorney licensed to practice in South Carolina who represents people charged with DUI, criminal offenses, personal injury cases, and other areas stated on this website.