Whether you’re new to owning a firearm or have had a gun for home defense for years, getting a concealed carry permit may seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be. There are many reasons and ways to carry a concealed weapon, but the first step is knowing the laws. Applying for a CCW varies by state. Read about the process for getting a South Carolina concealed weapons permit below.

Similar to permit requirements, states vary greatly in their processes for how an applicant obtains a concealed carry permit, what their permits/licenses are called, whether permits include photographs, whether fingerprinting is required, permit duration, permit costs and turnaround times. Some states allow an applicant to complete an application online, while others require an in-person visit to the office of the respective issuing authority. There are even states that require the applicant to provide a list of non-related character references.

Concealed Weapons Permit Basics

South Carolina is a shall-issue state. Concealed weapons permits are issued at the state level by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED). Shall-issue means licensing authorities in South Carolina are compelled to issue a permit as long as an applicant meets the basic requirements set out by state law. There is no permit, background check or firearms registration required when buying a handgun from a private individual.

Based on the Governor’s signing of HB 3094, open carry, as well as concealed carry, are legal for residents with a South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) and for non-residents with a license/permit from a state that South Carolina honors as of August 15, 2021. CWPs are issued to residents, non-residents who own property in the state and military personnel stationed in South Carolina. Concealed carry permits require an eight-hour firearms training course that has been approved by the state. The minimum age to obtain a CWP is 21 years old. In terms of reciprocity, South Carolina honors resident permits from states that recognize South Carolina permits, provided the reciprocal state requires an applicant to successfully pass a criminal background check and a course in firearm training and safety. Stun guns and Tasers are legal to purchase and possess without a permit. In addition, containers of pepper spray not exceeding 50cc of tear gas can be carried for self-defense purposes only.

Federally Prohibited Persons

The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Federal Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 make it illegal for a person who fits into any of the prohibited categories to ship, transport, receive or possess firearms or ammunition. These laws prevent a state from issuing a concealed carry permit/license as it would be illegal for people who fit in these categories, by federal law, to own or possess a gun.

What Are the Permit Requirements in South Carolina?

An applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Have completed an approved firearms training class 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
  • Meet federal law requirements

*Consult with an attorney if you have any questions about your eligibility. If you don’t have an attorney, you can find one by contacting the State Bar of South Carolina.

Do I Need Firearms Training in South Carolina?

Firearms training requires the applicant to demonstrate a proficiency in both the use of handguns and state laws pertaining to handguns. Applicants for an initial permit after August 15, 2021, must complete an 8-hour handgun education course offered by a state, county, or municipal law enforcement agency or a nationally recognized organization that promotes gun safety within the last 3 years. Additional details and exemptions can be found on the USCCA South Carolina webpage.

How Do I Get a Concealed Weapons Permit in South Carolina?

Step 1: Complete a firearms training course within three years of filing the application, if required.

Step 2: Applicants for new CWPs can choose to submit a paper application by downloading and completing an application form or by using the online IdentoGo registration system.

Step 3: 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
  • Military applicants must submit military orders or a copy of their DD214
  • Retired law enforcement officers musts submit proof of retirement benefits/pension documentation
  • Real property tax form R168 for non-resident applicants
  • Documentation of firearms training course taken within three 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 4: For paper applications, mail information to:

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

Step 5: You will be notified if your application has been approved.

For more information, visit the USCCA South Carolina gun laws page now…

The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.