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South Carolina Open Carry: Laws, Requirements, Application & Online Training

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South Carolina allows the use of firearms in the state.

But there are location restrictions, as well as limitations on the type of firearms allowed.

Therefore, to make sure that you do not infringe on state gun laws, you must be familiar with how and where to handle firearms.

South Carolina Gun Laws Summary

South Carolina issues concealed weapon permits for the possession of firearms.

It is a shall-issue state, and the law enforcement division is in charge of approving an application.

If you meet all requirements provided by the state, then you will get an approved application.

South Carolina does not issue a purchase permit, but you must complete a criminal record check before you buy a firearm.

The only exceptions to this check are those buying from a private dealer and anybody that has the state concealed weapon permit before buying a firearm.

The age requirement for South Carolina concealed weapon permit is twenty-one years old.

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Is Open Carry Legal In South Carolina?

No. South Carolina is not an open-carry state. Therefore you cannot openly don or use a handgun in the state.

However, the state issues permit for concealed carry.

Open Carry Laws In South Carolina?

South Carolina has a non-permissive policy for the open carry of handguns in the state.

You can open carry long guns only for special activities like hunting or related activities in the state.

South Carolina also prohibits Teflon-coated ammunition and machine firearms in the state except for those that have federal licenses, military members, and law enforcement officers in the state. 

South Carolina Open Gun Laws Quick View

Law/PolicyLong GunsHandgunsComments
State permit for open carry.NoNoSouth Carolina does not accept the open carry of firearms in the state.
Firearm registrations for open carry.NoNoThere are no requirements to register firearms in the state.
Assault weapon for open carry.NoNoSouth Carolina prohibits the open carry of firearms such as machine guns and semi-automatic firearms, except you have legal permission to use them.
Magazine limitNoNoThe state gun statutes do not say anything about magazine limits.
License for the owner of a firearm.Not requiredNot requiredSouth Carolina statutes do not issue any special license for firearm owners in the state.
Red flag lawNoNoThe state does not have a red flag law or any extreme risk protection order issued to people of risk.
Castle doctrine lawYesYesSouth Carolina is a castle doctrine state, and you can stand your ground in your dwelling place, business place and anywhere you have legal rights to be
Background check for private dealersNoNoSouth Carolina does not have any requirement for private dealers to run a criminal record check before selling firearms.
PreemptionYesYesSouth Carolina is a preemption gun law state, with the government reserving all rights to regulate the use of firearms.
Concealed carry permit.YesYesYou must have a South Carolina concealed carry permit before you can conceal a firearm in the state.
Concealed carry in personal vehicleYesYesYou can conceal carry in your private vehicle as long as you have the state permit.
Possession of firearms in SchoolsNoNoSouth Carolina prohibits the possession of firearms and other deadly weapons in schools, colleges, and other educational institutions.

Where Is It Legal To Open Carry In South Carolina?

South Carolina allows the possession of firearms in the following parts of the state:

  • Restaurants and bars: You can possess your firearm in restaurants and bar areas of the state as long as there is no post prohibiting such.
  • Personal vehicle: You can possess your firearm in your car if you have it locked away in a compartment or the trunk.
  • Roadside areas: South Carolina does not restrict the possession of firearms in roadside areas of the state.
  • State forests and parks: You can possess firearms in forests and park areas of the state and even wildlife management areas:

Where Is It Illegal To Open Carry In South Carolina?

South Carolina prohibits the use and possession of firearms in the following parts of the state:

  • Schools in the state: You cannot possess firearms in schools, either primary or secondary, universities, and other educational institutions in the state.
  • Public properties: You cannot make use of firearms in buildings accessible to the public, except you have permission from those in charge to do so.
  • School events: You cannot possess your firearm in any event organized by the management of schools or colleges.
  • Daycare: You cannot possess your firearms in any daycare or facility meant for children's care.
  • Government buildings: You cannot make use of firearms in any building owned by the government of the state or any subdivision of the state.
  • Law enforcement agencies: You cannot possess firearms in any law enforcement agency or a property used for their day to day activities.
  • Detention facilities: You cannot possess firearms in any of the state prisons, jails, or correctional homes.
  • Polling unit: During elections in South Carolina, it is a prohibition to possess your firearm in any part of the state used as a polling place.
  • Places of worship: You cannot make use of firearms in churches, synagogues, or mosques in the state, except the authority of such places permits you.
  • Health care centers: You cannot possess firearms in any hospital, mental home, or clinic in the state, and this includes the doctor's office, or any administrative office, except you have permission to do so.
  • Private properties: It is a prohibition to be with your firearm in any private property or building that has signage restricting weapons on the premises.
  • Hotels and guest houses: You cannot make use of your firearm or possess it in any establishment meant for lodging in the state if the management of such a place prohibits the act.
  • State capitol premises: You cannot possess your firearm in the state capitol building or its premises, except if you keep it locked away and concealed in your car.
  • Prohibited areas: You cannot possess your firearms in areas of the state prohibited by federal laws.

FAQs About Open Carry South Carolina

South Carolina most frequently asked questions about the possession and use of firearms in the state include the following:

Do I Need A Permit To Open Carry In South Carolina?

South Carolina does not permit the open carry of firearms within its territory, either with or without a permit.

Do I Need A Permit To Open Carry In South Carolina?

Yes. With a South Carolina concealed weapon permit, you can conceal carry in the state.

What Is The Age Requirement For Open Carry In South Carolina?

Open carry is illegal in South Carolina.

What Is The Age Requirement For Concealed Carry In South Carolina?

You must be at least twenty-one years old to conceal carry in South Carolina.

At What Age Can I Apply For South Carolina CCW Permit?

You must be at least twenty-one years old to apply for a South Carolina concealed weapon permit.

Does South Carolina Have A Red Flag Law?

No. South Carolina does not issue red flag laws in the state, and the gun statutes do not mention extreme risk protection orders.

Is South Carolina Concealed Weapon Permit Valid For Non-residents Of The State?

Those that can apply for South Carolina firearm permits are residents of the state, members of the military assigned to the state, and non-residents that have properties in the state.

Is South Carolina A Constitutional Carry State?

No. South Carolina does not allow constitutional carry in the state.

Can I Open Carry Knives In South Carolina?

South Carolina does not prohibit the open carry and possession of knives in the state, and it is also legal to conceal carry knives, as long as you do not have the intention to commit a crime with it.

However, knives are prohibited in places like schools and public buildings. Municipalities may also have restrictions for the size of blades for knives used within the boundaries.

Does South Carolina Restrict The Use Of Firearms In The State?

South Carolina passed a law in twenty-seventeen to prohibit the possession, manufacturing, and use of firearms such as machine guns, bump stock, large-capacity weapons, trigger cranks, or related firearms.

The only exception to this are members of the United States military or any law enforcement officer while carrying out duties in the states or someone with a licensed weapon who does not have any federal prohibition against possessing it.

Do I Need Purchase Permits To Buy Firearms In South Carolina?

No, South Carolina does not issue a purchase permit to buy firearms in the state.

Is Criminal Record Background Check Compulsory For Firearm Purchase In South Carolina?

If you are buying your firearm from a state or federally licensed dealer, then you must under a criminal record background check.

South Carolina does not mandate private dealers in the state to complete the criminal background check.

Also, you do not need to complete the check if you already have a South Carolina Concealed Weapon License.

For How Long Is South Carolina Concealed Carry Permit Valid In The State?

The permit is valid for five years after which you have to apply for a renewal permit.

Do I Have A Duty To Inform Law Enforcement Officers About My Possession Of Firearms In South Carolina?

Yes. If you come across an officer of the law and you have a firearm with you, you must notify the law enforcement officer.

Is South Carolina A Castle Doctrine State?

Yes, you have no duty to retreat and can stand your ground when faced with an attack in a dwelling place, workplace, vehicle, sidewalks or any other place you have legal rights to be in South Carolina

Can I Make Use Of Deadly Force While Defending Myself In South Carolina?

Yes. South Carolina gun laws encourage you to meet deadly force with deadly force and if you feel that an attack can lead to severe bodily harm or imminent death during self-defense in the state.

Must I Undergo Firearm Training Before Applying For South Carolina Concealed Carry Permit?

Yes. You must complete one of the state-licensed firearm training before you apply for a permit.

Must I Register Firearms After Buying In South Carolina?

No. The state gun laws do not say anything about registration of firearms after completing a purchase.

Relevant Open Carry Laws And Legislature In South Carolina

Some of South Carolina gun statutes that concern the possession of firearms or other weapons in the state include the following:

Ammunition Restrictions

Section sixteen of the state statutes prohibit the manufacturing and possession of Teflon coated ammunition in the state.

No Weapon Sign

South Carolina enforces no weapon signs in the state.

Any building that carries this signage must have it at an entrance to prohibit weapon users, especially those that conceal weapons.

The sign must be:

  • Very visible from outside the premises.
  • At least eight to twelve inches tall.
  • Must have the word “no concealable weapons allowed” written in black ink and capital letter, centered on the sign.
  • Must have a black image or representation of a gun in seven inches’ diameter with a line that diagonally runs across it at a forty-five-degree angle.
  • Must be placed away from the bottom of the entrance door with a diameter range of not less than forty degrees and not more than sixty degrees.

Preemption Law

South Carolina is a preemption gun law state, and the state government has the authority to regulate the use and possession of firearms.

However, local municipalities in the state have the power to regulate the use and discharge of firearms negligently, within their local boundaries.

Brandishing Of Firearms

South Carolina laws say that it is unlawful for anybody to point a firearm at another person, either loaded or unloaded.

However, this section of the law considers issues of self-defense and also the theatrical use of firearms.

Possession Of Firearm While Under The Influence Of Alcohol

South Carolina prohibits the use of firearms under the influence of alcohol, narcotics, or any other substance prohibited by drug agencies of the state or the country.

Open Carry While Hunting

You can possess a firearm while hunting in South Carolina, but for bow hunting, you must have a permit before you conceal firearms.

During primitive seasons, you cannot make use of your firearms to take any game. The only weapons for hunting in this season are archery equipment and muzzleloaders.

South Carolina has hunter harassment laws that state that it is illegal for anybody to deliberately restrict another person from licensed hunting or related activities like fishing and trapping.

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