South Carolina Concealed Carry Weapon (CCW): Gun Laws, Application, Requirements & Online Training
If you are interested in carrying a concealed weapon in South Carolina, you’ll find it has a shall-issue policy for CCW permits, regulated by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Agency (SLED). This article will provide you with all the essential information you need to know about South Carolina’s lenient gun laws, CCW permit requirements, reciprocity with other states, location restrictions, and more.
South Carolina has a shall-issue policy for concealed carry permits, which means that as long as you meet the CCW permit requirements set by the state, you are entitled to receive a license. The process is administered by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Agency (SLED) and involves obtaining a permit to carry a concealed weapon within the state.
South Carolina Gun Laws
To legally carry a concealed weapon in South Carolina, you must have a resident-issued CCW permit. However, non-residents can also carry concealed firearms in the state if they possess a valid CCW permit from any state that South Carolina honors. Non-residents who wish to obtain a South Carolina CCW permit must own property within the state.
To be eligible for a CCW permit in South Carolina, you must be at least twenty-one years old, have no felony convictions or any violent crime convictions, and meet all federal law requirements for a concealed carry permit in the United States.
CCW Permit Reciprocity
South Carolina has reciprocity agreements with several states, allowing individuals with valid CCW permits from those states to carry concealed firearms within the territories of South Carolina. Similarly, holders of South Carolina CCW permits can carry concealed firearms in other states that recognize South Carolina permits.
It is essential to understand the reciprocity agreements between states to ensure that you comply with the specific laws and requirements of each state you intend to visit while carrying a concealed weapon.
States Accepting South Carolina CCW Permits
South Carolina has reciprocity with twenty-five states, which means you can carry concealed in South Carolina with a valid CCW permit issued by any of these states.
States Accepting CCW Permits from South Carolina
South Carolina’s CCW permits are honored by nineteen other states, allowing you to carry concealed in those states.
States with Restricted Reciprocity
There are two states with restricted reciprocity, meaning they will only accept a resident-only CCW permit from South Carolina. Non-residents and military personnel permits from South Carolina will not be valid in these states.
States with Permitless Carry Policies
Fourteen states have a permitless policy for concealed carry, meaning you can carry a concealed firearm in those states without a CCW permit as long as you meet their specific age and other requirements for permitless carry.
As a non-resident wishing to carry concealed in South Carolina, it is essential to be aware of these varying standards and requirements for CCW permits across states.
Location Restrictions for Concealed Carry
While South Carolina has a shall-issue policy for CCW permits, there are still location restrictions where carrying a concealed weapon is prohibited, even with a valid permit. Understanding these restrictions is crucial to avoid potential legal issues and ensure responsible gun ownership.
Places Where You Can Conceal Carry
Concealed carry is generally allowed in most public places, including:
- Restaurants and Bars (unless under the influence of alcohol or prohibited by management)
- Private Vehicles
- Roadsides and Rest Areas
- State/National Parks and Forests
- Wildlife Management Areas
Places Where You Cannot Conceal Carry
However, there are specific locations where concealed carry is prohibited, even for those with a valid CCW permit. These locations include:
- Schools, Colleges, Technical Institutions, and Universities (unless permission is obtained or the firearm is kept in a vehicle by permit holders)
- Public Buildings and Activities (without approval from authorities or permit holders keeping firearms in vehicles)
- School Sports Centers and Professional Sporting Events Unrelated to Firearms
- Daycare Centers or Child Facilities
- Municipal, District, and County Offices and Meetings
- Law Enforcement Agency Offices and Facilities
- Prisons, Detention Centers, and Correctional Facilities
- Courthouses and During Court Proceedings
- Polling Units During Elections
- Churches, Mosques, Synagogues, or Places of Worship (unless permission is granted)
- Hospitals and Medical Offices (unless permission is obtained)
- Private Properties with Firearms Prohibited Signs
- Public Transportations
- Lodging Ventures with No Firearm Possession Allowed Signs
- Homes of Others (unless permission is granted)
- State Capitol Grounds (unless firearms are locked away in vehicles)
- Places Where Federal Laws Restrict Gun Possession
Always ensure you are aware of the specific location restrictions before carrying a concealed weapon to avoid legal consequences.
Conceal Carry for Law Enforcement Officers
Law enforcement officers have distinct regulations regarding concealed carry in South Carolina. The Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act (LEOSA) allows active, retired, and out-of-service officers to carry concealed in any jurisdiction of the state, exempt from local or state restrictions on firearms.
LEOSA for Active Officers
Active law enforcement officers can carry concealed in any jurisdiction within South Carolina without location restrictions or limitations imposed by state or local laws. This privilege extends to officers out of service for good standing, making it possible for them to carry concealed under LEOSA provisions.
LEOSA for Retired Officers
Retired officers must meet LEOSA standards to qualify for concealed carry in South Carolina. The law enforcement agency from which the officer retired will be responsible for the training and qualification process. The standards for active officers and retired officers are the same.
Out-of-State Retired Officers in South Carolina
Retired officers from other states who wish to carry concealed in South Carolina must also meet the standards set by the state. These standards typically align with LEOSA requirements for retired officers.
Buying and Selling Firearms in South Carolina
Before dealing with firearms in South Carolina, it is essential to understand the state’s laws and regulations surrounding the purchase, selling, transportation, and transfer of firearms.
Purchase Permits and Firearm Registrations
Unlike many other states, South Carolina does not require a purchase permit or firearm registration for buying a firearm. You can purchase a firearm without a permit, but a valid South Carolina CCW permit allows you to buy a firearm within the state.
Criminal Record Background Check for Firearm Purchase
Background checks are mandatory for state and federally licensed firearm dealers in South Carolina. However, private sellers are not required to conduct background checks. It is advisable to keep your firearm sales receipt to prove ownership if needed.
CCW permit holders are exempt from undergoing background checks when purchasing firearms.
Waiting Period for Firearm Purchase
South Carolina does not have a waiting period for firearm purchases. Once the background check is completed, the transaction can be finalized.
Age Requirement for Firearm Possession
To transport and purchase a firearm in South Carolina, individuals must be at least eighteen years old.
Possession of Firearms on Personal Properties
You do not need a South Carolina CCW permit to possess a firearm in your residence, place of business, or any other personal property.
South Carolina’s Castle Doctrine
South Carolina has a Castle Doctrine law, which grants individuals the right to stand their ground and use force, including deadly force, for self-protection. If you are legally present at a location and not engaged in any illegal activity, you are not required to retreat when under attack.
The Castle Doctrine applies to dwellings, vehicles, places of business, and other locations where you have a legal right to be. However, outside these locations, individuals must attempt to retreat and flee before resorting to force for self-defense.
The Castle Doctrine law also provides immunity against civil liability in South Carolina.
CCW Permit Requirements
To apply for a concealed carry permit in South Carolina, applicants must meet specific requirements set forth by the state:
- Be at least twenty-one years old
- Be a resident of South Carolina or own property in the state if a non-resident
- Enroll and complete a recognized South Carolina concealed carry permit course for firearm training
- Have no felony convictions or convictions for crimes involving violence
- Have good vision and not be subject to any court order prohibiting firearm use, handling, or possession
- Meet all federal law requirements for a concealed carry permit in the United States
How to Apply for a CCW Permit in South Carolina
Once you meet all the CCW permit requirements in South Carolina, you can proceed with the application process, which involves the following steps:
Complete Firearm Training Course
Before applying for a concealed carry permit, you must complete a South Carolina concealed carry permit course. This course can be conducted by a law enforcement agency or any nationally accepted organization overseeing firearm safety. The course must have been completed within the past three years and cover various aspects of firearm laws, safe handling, storage, and usage.
Download Application Form
Review the concealed carry guide for South Carolina’s CCW permit application and download the application form from the relevant authorities’ website.
Submit Application and Necessary Documents
You can submit your application physically or use the IdentoGo website for online registration. If applying online, you will need to make an appointment, submit fingerprints, and other necessary documents electronically.
The documents required for application typically include:
- A state-issued driver’s license or ID card
- Proof of property ownership in South Carolina for non-residents
- Firearm training certificate signed by you and the certified instructor
- Applicant checklist
- Two fingerprint cards
- The required fee payable to SLED
Active military personnel must provide a military order, while retired and honorably discharged members need to provide proof of service. Retired law enforcement officers, honorably discharged military personnel, and disabled veterans are exempt from CCW permit fees in South Carolina.
Upon successful submission of your application, you will receive notification by mail regarding the status of your application.
Firearm Training Requirements
The firearm training required for a South Carolina concealed carry permit includes:
- Comprehensive details of the state’s gun laws, including the use of excessive force
- Instruction on handgun use and safe handling practices
- Information on firearm storage to minimize accidental injuries, particularly involving children
- A live-fire session supervised by a certified firearm instructor
South Carolina offers shall-issue CCW permits, allowing residents and non-residents to carry concealed firearms legally within the state’s territories. However, it is crucial to understand the location restrictions, reciprocity agreements with other states, and the specific requirements for obtaining a CCW permit in South Carolina. Responsible gun ownership and adherence to all applicable laws and regulations are essential for a safe and lawful concealed carry experience.
South Carolina Concealed Carry FAQs
Here are some frequently asked questions about CCW permits in South Carolina:
How Long is the CCW Permit Valid?
A South Carolina CCW permit is valid for five years. You must apply for a renewal application once the permit expires.
How Much Does a CCW Permit Cost?
Both initial and renewal CCW permits cost fifty dollars each.
How Long is the Processing Period?
The processing period for CCW permits in South Carolina is typically ninety days.
When Can I Apply for a Renewal?
You will receive a renewal application mail within ninety to one hundred and twenty days before your permit expires. Online renewal is not available.
Is Online Renewal Available?
As of now, South Carolina does not offer online renewal for CCW permits.