ATTENTION GUN OWNERS & FUTURE GUN OWNERS: GET CONCEALED CARRY CERTIFIED BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE

South Carolina Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map & Gun Laws

Everything you need to know about owning a firearm in the state of South Carolina

South Carolina State Seal

South Carolina Reciprocity Map

Last Updated: 2021

South Carolina Concealed Carry Reciprocity Overview

5.2M

STATE POPULATION

516K

LICENSES ISSUED

10%

LICENSE PERCENTAGE

25

STATES HONORED

21

MINIMUM AGE TO CC

5

YEARS LICENSE VALID

35

RECIPROCATING STATES

NO

CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY

12

CC CERTIFIED INSTRUCTORS

Becoming a responsible citizen and firearm owner depends on clearly understanding the gun rights and state laws that apply to you. South Carolina is home to 5.2 million people and had distributed 418,828 concealed carry (CC) licenses by December 31, 2020, according to the most recent data from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). This means 7.94% of the population held licenses at the close of last year.

Understanding reciprocity – how your gun rights translate across state lines – is also essential. A concealed weapons permit (CWP) from South Carolina is honored in 35 states. South Carolina, in turn, recognizes CC licenses from 22 other states and enhanced CWPs from four more. The minimum age to CC in South Carolina is 21, regardless of the age on permits from any honored state. A South Carolina license is valid for five years.

Those interested in obtaining your South Carolina concealed carry license need an education partner they can trust. Concealed Coalition has trained over a million U.S. citizens on how to carry their weapons safely and effectively. Contact us to find online or local training to get your CC license.

South Carolina Concealed Carry Training Courses with Concealed Coalition

Summary of South Carolina Gun Laws

Your South Carolina Gun Rights

South Carolina CC permits are issued by SLED, with the state following the “shall issue” model of firearms license dispensation. This means applicants must be issued a firearms license upon successfully meeting the state’s requirements for ownership. Purchasing a firearm from a private individual does not require a permit, firearms registration, or a background check.

Gun rights can differ, depending on where you are. This is what makes a working understanding of your home state’s rules so important. South Carolina residents should always contact SLED for the latest CWP information by calling 803-896-7015 or emailing CWPquestions@sled.sc.gov as an alternative. Here are the current firearm laws for South Carolina:

Open Carry in South Carolina

HB 3094 took effect on August 15, 2021, meaning that open carry is only legal in South Carolina for those with a CC permit. This doesn’t mean open carry will be permitted on private properties that prohibit either open or CC.

Concealed Carry in South Carolina

This is allowed for state residents with their CWP and nonresidents with a permit from an honored state. 

Self Defense Laws in South Carolina

South Carolina statute has strict rules on what constitutes the various uses of force, including where and how they can be applied. This is critically important knowledge for all firearms owners to help them act more confidently within the limits of the law.

Use of Force

South Carolina residents are not legally required to retreat from an aggressor, provided they’re being attacked in a location where they’re legally permitted to be. This includes, but is not limited to, their home, their place of business, or their vehicle. Individuals may meet force with force to defend themselves or others from a violent crime, great bodily injury, or death.

Use of Deadly Force

Deadly force is legal under Section 16-11-440. Permissible circumstances include defense of self or others against great bodily injury or death, during unlawful or forcible entry, or to prevent the unlawful removal of a child.

Protecting Yourself After Use of Force

It’s vital to be aware of the legal definitions of acceptable use of force before applying retaliation of any kind. This will be your strongest defense if you must testify in court about the motivations behind your actions.

Firearms training is a reliable way to gain the situational and legal awareness that helps you judge when to apply force of any kind. Concealed Coalition has trained gun owners nationwide to become responsible, certified gun owners. Classes are available locally and online.

South Carolina Gun Laws by Statute

Concealed Coalition is dedicated to dispelling the myths surrounding gun ownership and promoting a culture of understanding, responsibility, and confidence. Our certified instructors are qualified across multiple states, and our online or local training classes provide convenient learning environments run by instructors who care.

Contact us today at (803) 220-1473 or email to discuss your concealed carry permit educational needs..

Quick Links

South Carolina Concealed Carry Laws for Responsible Gun Ownership

CONCEALED CARRY BASICS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Does South Carolina recognize constitutional carry?

No.

Is open carry permitted in South Carolina?

The law allows gun owners with concealed carry permits to openly carry firearms in public.

If South Carolina requires a license to carry a concealed firearm, how are those licenses issued?

South Carolina has shall-issue police for CCW permits in the state, done at the level of South Carolina Law Enforcement Agency (SLED). The state has lenient gun laws, and as long as you meet the CCW permit requirements, you will get a license.

What is the minimum age in South Carolina to get a concealed carry license?

21 years old.

Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in South Carolina with a concealed carry license (or under permit-less carry if applicable)?

No. “Concealable weapon” means a firearm having a length of less than 12″ in length carried openly on one’s person or 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.

Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in South Carolina?

Yes. No permit is necessary.

Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in South Carolina?

Yes. Canisters can’t contain more than 50cc of tear gas.

Does South Carolina have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?

No.

Does South Carolina have ammunition restrictions?

Teflon-coated ammo is not allowed under Section 16-23-520.

CONCEALED CARRY LOCATIONS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Where can't I carry a concealed firearm in South Carolina?

The law bans CC in:

  • Any location prohibited by federal law
  • Private or public property where owners have clear signage prohibiting CC
  • Any educational facilities without express permission from those in charge
  • Detention or correctional facilities
  • Preschool or daycare facilities
  • Polling places on election days
  • Any college or school-related event that does not center on firearms
  • Law enforcement premises
  • Government or district government offices
  • Court premises
  • Medical premises, unless with employer’s permission
  • Religious premises, unless permitted
  • Public transportation
  • State capitol grounds and buildings
  • In anyone’s dwelling or residence without their permission

Never consider any list of restricted locations exhaustive. Call ahead to ask about their firearms policy.

Where can I carry a concealed firearm in South Carolina?

These locations are covered further throughout this FAQ.

Can you carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in South Carolina?

Yes. The weapon must be securely locked and out of sight if you don’t possess a CWP.

Can you carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in South Carolina?

Yes.

Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forest and Wildlife Management Areas in South Carolina?

Yes.

Can you carry a concealed firearm in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in South Carolina?

Yes, unless the owner has signs prohibiting it.

Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in South Carolina?

This can vary because hotels are private businesses and can set their own rules. CC licensees should always check with the hotel to clarify their position before making any reservations or entering the premises.

Does South Carolina have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?

Employers are legally allowed to post signs prohibiting CC anywhere on work premises. This can be a vague and often confusing definition, with debates on whether this applies to parking lots. Speak to your employer about their views on this issue, and be sure to follow them.

IMPORTANT GUNS LAWS IN SOUTH CAROLINA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Do you have a duty to notify a police officer that you're carrying a concealed firearm in South Carolina?

This is legally required. CC licensees have a duty to inform officers of their CC status without waiting to be asked.

Are "No Weapons Allowed? signs enforced in South Carolina? If, yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If, no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.

Yes. Signs must be 8×12 inches, must clearly display the phrase “No Concealable Weapons Allowed,” and must meet other visual requirements. They must be posted at the entrance of any premises with this rule. 

Does South Carolina have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e., Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?

Yes, but municipalities do have some limited powers under Section 23-31-510.

Does South Carolina have a red flag law?

No.

Does South Carolina state law define brandishing?

There is no legal definition of brandishing in South Carolina law. It’s a felony under Section 16-23-410, though, to point a loaded or unloaded firearm at another person unless in self-defense or in the course of a theatrical performance. Punishment can be up to five years imprisonment, a $5,000 fine, or both if the conditions of this statute are met.

Is It Legal to Carry a Concealed Firearm While Using Alcohol or Illegal Drugs in South Carolina?

No.

Does South Carolina issue concealed carry licenses to non-residents?

Only active military personnel stationed in the state or nonresidents who own property in the state may be awarded a CC license.

Does South Carolina allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?

Anyone who has had their license revoked will be published in a public SLED list during the first quarter of the year.

HANDGUN PURCHASE & POSSESSION IN SOUTH CAROLINA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in South Carolina?

No.

Are background checks required for private gun sales in South Carolina?

Firearms dealers must initiate the background check required by federal law by contacting the FBI directly.

South Carolina does not require private sellers (sellers who are not licensed dealers) to initiate a background check when transferring a firearm.

Does my current South Carolina concealed carry license exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase firearm? 

There is no permit, background check or firearms registration required when buying a handgun from a private individual.

Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in South Carolina?

No.

Do handguns need to be registered in South Carolina?

No.

What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in South Carolina?

18 years old.

Can I possess/carry a handgun in my home in South Carolina without a license? 

Yes.

SOUTH CAROLINA CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE INFORMATION

Concealed Carry Requirements to Register for a License in South Carolina

An applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have completed an approved firearms training class must have completed a basic or advanced handgun training course within three years of application or meet an exemption
  • 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 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

Fees:

South Carolina issues initial permits and renewals free of charge.

Valid For:

5 years.

Processing Time:

90 days.

Non-Resident Concealed Carry License:

Non-residents who own property in the state and military personnel posted in South Carolina may apply for a non-resident permit. The process is the same as for residents.

Name & Address Changes:

Any change of permanent address must be communicated in writing to SLED within 10 days of the change free of charge. SLED will then issue a new permit with the new address. **A permit holder’s failure to notify SLED in accordance with this subsection constitutes a misdemeanor punishable by a $25 fine.**

The original permit remains in force until receipt of the corrected permit identification card by the permit holder, at which time the original permit must be returned to SLED.

You may request a replacement CWP using the online system.  Once you have accessed the SCCWP Duplicate/Renewal link you will have the option to update your information as intended. SLED will print your new credential and mail it to you. Once received you must shred/destroy your old credential. If you would like to complete a paper Duplicate/Replacement, you may do so by following the directions stated using the CWP Replacement form.

Lost or Stolen Licenses:

You may request a replacement CWP using the online system. Once you have accessed the SCCWP Duplicate/Renewal link you will have the option to update your information as intended, pay the $5 fee required to process the transaction, and SLED will be prompted to update your information as requested in their system. A new credential with the updated information will be printed and mailed to you. If you would like to complete a paper Duplicate/Replacement, you may do so by following the directions stated using the CWP Replacement form.

Residency Changes:

Moving to South Carolina and interested in applying for a resident permit? How soon can you apply?
South Carolina issues permits to residents, non-residents who own property in the state and military personnel posted in South Carolina only. You can apply for your permit once you can provide proof of either residency or that you own property in the state.

If a person with a South Carolina concealed weapons permit establishes residency in another state, you must surrender your permit to SLED.

SOUTH CAROLINA CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE APPLICATION PROCESS

Step One:

Complete a firearm training course within 3 years of filing the application, if required.

Step Two:

Applicants for new CWPs can choose to submit a paper application or use the online IdentoGo registration system. 

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.

Step Three:

To submit a paper application, download the form.
To apply online, visit IdentoGo.

Step Four:

You will need the following documents:

  • Photocopy of driver’s license or state ID card
  • Resident aliens must provide a copy of their alien card from the Department of Homeland Security
  • Real property tax form R168 for non-resident applicants
  • Documentation of firearm training course taken within 3 years or of an exemption (such as military orders for active-duty military applicants and a DD214 for retired or former military applicants)
  • Application form signed by you and your firearms instructor
  • SLED CWP Instructor/Student Checklist
  • 2 complete fingerprint cards.

Step Five:

For paper applications, mail information to:

CWP Application,
SLED Data Center,
P.O. Box 21398,
Columbia, SC 29221-1398

Step Six:

You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.

SOUTH CAROLINA CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE RENEWAL PROCESS

Overview

Applicants can renew through one of two channels.

Online

The first is online via SLED’s EasyPath system, which require a state-issued driver’s license or government-issued photo ID. Certain other documents will be needed if you are changing personal status.

By Mail

The second renewal option is by mail, which requires printing the online form and completing it as per SLED guidance. There’s a fee of $50 unless you’re a disabled veteran or RLEO (documentation proving either is required).

Concealed Carry for Law Enforcement Officers and Retired LEOs

The federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) allows both active and retired law enforcement officers (LEOs and RLEOs) to CC anywhere in the U.S. with some restrictions. South Carolina allows RLEOs to take an annual firearms qualification test from the department or agency they once served. This ensures that the RLEO meets the same standards of firearms competency as active LEOs.

The RLEO will be issued an ID card that’s identical to those issued to active LEOs under LEOSA, with the exception of the word “retired” being added. An out-of-state RLEO wishing to CC in South Carolina must contact the local sheriff or police department to qualify.

Firearms Training & Competency

The certified instructors at Concealed Coalition will teach you the applicable laws for your state and how to carry and fire a firearm safely. Training is available across the U.S. and online, so contact us to sign up or ask any South Carolina questions.

It’s necessary to complete a state-approved firearms training program for any South Carolina resident seeking their CWP. There are many ways to achieve this:

NRA Training

The NRA offers many different kinds and levels of training at a wide range of locations, including classes focused on helping women gain firearms skills. Use the local training locator to find specific lessons.

Hunter Safety Courses

The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources offers a hunter’s education course. This is mandatory for anyone born after June 30, 1979, who wishes to hunt in the state. Classes are instructor-led (free of charge) or online ($24.50).

Firearms Safety Courses From Other Providers

Public and private institutions, colleges, or law enforcement agencies often provide firearms training. Check with the SLED-approved list of CWP instructors to be sure you’re attending a worthwhile course.

A Firearms Training Course With a State-Certified Instructor

Concealed Coalition offers firearm training to help you gain a CC license. Our highly trained instructors provide actionable lessons based on their extensive practical experience to ensure you gain tested and reliable skills.

DD Form 214 or Military Orders for Active or Former Military Members

The military document DD 214 is issued when a service member performs active duty or has completed at least 90 consecutive days of active-duty training. Retired or former military applicants must submit a copy of their DD 214 when applying for their CWP for the first time.

Get Certified for a South Carolina Concealed Carry Permit Today

Our network of firearms professionals are holding training classes and in-person certification courses throughout South Carolina. Use our certification locator to enroll in an upcoming firearms training course near you today, or visit our South Carolina concealed carry permitting resource for online certification.

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