South Carolina is a shall-issue state with concealed weapons permits issued at the state level by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
There is no permit, background check or firearms registration required when buying a handgun from a private individual.
Open carry of a handgun is illegal in South Carolina.
Concealed carry is legal for residents with a South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permits (CWP) and for non-residents with a license/permit from a state that South Carolina honors. CWPs are issued to residents, non-residents who own property in the state and military personnel stationed in South Carolina. Concealed carry permits require a 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 does not honor non-resident permits from other states. Some areas are off-limits, including schools and courthouses.
A person is presumed to have a reasonable fear of imminent peril of death or great bodily injury to himself or herself or another person when using deadly force that is intended or likely to cause death or great bodily injury to another person if the person:
Against whom the deadly force is used is in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering, has unlawfully and forcibly entered a dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle, or if he removes or is attempting to remove another person against his will from the dwelling, residence or occupied vehicle; and
Who uses deadly force knows or has reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act is occurring or has occurred.
A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in another place where he or she has a right to be, including but not limited to his place of business, has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or herself or another person or to prevent the commission of a violent crime.
“Dwelling” means a building or conveyance of any kind, including an attached porch, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed to be occupied by people lodging there at night.
“Residence” means a dwelling in which a person resides either temporarily or permanently or is visiting as an invited guest.
“Vehicle” means a conveyance of any kind, whether or not motorized, which is designed to transport people or property.
No. South Carolina does not allow constitutional carry.
Open Carry Permitted?
Is open carry permitted in South Carolina?
No. South Carolina does not allow open carry.
Gun Permit Licensure?
If South Carolina requires a permit to carry a concealed firearm, how are those permits issued?
South Carolina is a shall-issue state.
Minimum Age for Concealed Carry?
What is the minimum age in South Carolina to get a concealed carry permit?
The minimum to carry concealed in South Carolina is 21.
Weapons Other Than Handguns Allowed?
Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in South Carolina with a concealed carry permit (or under permitless carry if applicable)?
No. "Concealable weapon" means a firearm having a length of less than twelve inches measured along its greatest dimension that must be carried 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.
Can you carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in South Carolina?
Yes, with a South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit or a license/permit from a state that South Carolina honors. Without a permit the firearm must be secured in a closed glove compartment, closed console or closed trunk.
Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in South Carolina?
An innkeeper may refuse or deny any accommodations, facilities, or privileges of a lodging establishment to a person whom the innkeeper reasonably believes is bringing in property which may be dangerous to other persons including, but not limited to, firearms or explosives. The innkeeper may also eject a person from the lodging establishment premises for that reason. The individual hotel should be contacted to inquire about it's concealed carry policy. See theHandguns at Hotels page for additional information.
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. All signs must be posted at each entrance into a building where a concealable weapon permit holder is prohibited from carrying a concealable weapon and must be:
Clearly visible from outside the building;
8" by 12" tall;
Contain the words "NO CONCEALABLE WEAPONS ALLOWED" in black 1" tall uppercase type at the bottom of the sign and centered between the lateral edges of the sign;
Contain a black silhouette of a handgun inside a circle 7" in diameter with a diagonal line that runs from the lower left to the upper right at a 45° angle from the horizontal; and
Placed not less than 40" and not more than 60" from the bottom of the building's entrance door.
(C) If the premises where concealable weapons are prohibited does not have doors, then the signs must be:
36" by 48" tall;
Contain the words "NO CONCEALABLE WEAPONS ALLOWED" in black 3" tall uppercase type at the bottom of the sign and centered between the lateral edges of the sign;
Contain a black silhouette of a handgun inside a circle 34" in diameter with a diagonal line that is 2" wide and runs from the lower left to the upper right at a 45° angle from the horizontal and must be a diameter of a circle whose circumference is 2" wide;
Placed not less than 40" and not more than 96" above the ground; and
Posted in sufficient quantities to be clearly visible from any point of entry onto the premises.
No definition of brandishing was found in South Carolina law. However, it is unlawful for a person to present or point at another person a loaded or unloaded firearm. This section must not be construed to abridge the right of self-defense or to apply to theatricals or like performances.
As a responsibly armed American, regardless of the laws in your state, it is unwise to carry while under the influence of any substance that could impair your judgement, slow your reaction times, or impact your decision-making abilities. Any decision you make while carrying a firearm could have life-altering consequences.
Does South Carolina issue concealed carry permits to non-residents?
Yes, to non-residents who own property in the state and military personnel stationed in South Carolina.
PUBLIC ACCESS TO CONCEALED CARRY REGISTRY?
Does South Carolina allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?
South Carolina makes the information available for law enforcement. In addition, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) must publish a report annually during the first quarter which includes detailed information regarding individuals who have had their permit revoked and the reason for the revocation.
Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in South Carolina?
No. You are not required to obtain a permit before purchasing a handgun in South Carolina.
Background Checks for Private Gun Sales?
Are background checks required for private gun sales in South Carolina?
No. Private firearms transfers are not subject to a background check requirement, although federal and state purchaser prohibitions, including age restrictions, still apply. It is recommended that you retain any sales receipts to prove ownership of the gun.
South Carolina Permit Exempts from Background Check?
Does my current South Carolina concealed carry permit exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase a firearm?
Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in South Carolina?
No. There is no waiting period required when buying a handgun in South Carolina.
Do handguns need to be registered in South Carolina?
No. Handgun registration is not required in South Carolina.
Minimum Age to Possess and Transport?
What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in South Carolina?
You must be at least 18 years old to possess or transport a handgun in South Carolina.
South Carolina honors resident permits from states that recognize South Carolina permits. The minimum age is 21 years old. Residents must have a South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permits (CWP) in order to carry in the state.
Note: Firearms must be carried in accordance with the laws of the state you are visiting. Be sure to check the laws of the other state before traveling there with your firearms.
States That Have Restricted Reciprocity with South Carolina
South Carolina offers resident and non-resident (people who own property in the state and military personnel stationed in South Carolina) permits. If indicated with “Resident only” below, that state only honors South Carolina resident permits (and not those issued to non-residents).
Anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed in permitless carry states without a permit/license. The minimum age* for permitless carry is shown. Check each state’s page for more information and any restrictions that may apply.
*PC-18 = permitless carry if at least 18 years old
*PC-21 = permitless carry if at least 21 years old
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.
Any change of permanent address must be communicated in writing to SLED within 10 days of the change accompanied by the payment of a fee of $5. 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 shall remain 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 provided by IdentoGo 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 our system and then will print your new credential and mail it to you. Once received please 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.
You may request a replacement CWP using the online system. Once you have accessed the SCCWP Duplicate/Renewal link provided by IdentoGo 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 our system and then will print your new credential and mail it 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.
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.
Moving from South Carolina and have a South Carolina resident permit? Does that permit transfer to your new state? Is there a grace period during which your South Carolina permit remains valid? 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 Permit Application Process
How to Apply for a South Carolina Concealed Carry Permit
Complete a firearm training course if required.
Applicants for new CWPs can choose to submit a paper application or use the online IdentoGo registration system. At this time, SLED will continue to process all submitted applications received from the IdentoGo appointments made online and any applications made by mail.
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.
Firearms training requires the applicant to demonstrate a proficiency in both the use of handguns and state laws pertaining to handguns. The applicant must have completed a handgun education course offered by a law enforcement agency or nationally recognized organization that promotes gun safety within the last three years. The course must include:
Information on state law relating to handguns and the use of deadly force;
Information on handgun use and safety;
Information on the proper storage practice for handguns, with an emphasis on storage practices that reduce the possibility of accidental injury to a child; and
The actual firing of the handgun in the presence of an instructor.
Exemptions – In accordance with South Carolina State law, active duty military and members of the reserve, and National Guard members are exempt from all CWP training. Retired/former military members and retired law enforcement must complete only the legal aspects portion of the CWP training by a certified South Carolina CWP instructor.
South Carolina Concealed Carry Permit Renewal Process
How to Renew a South Carolina Concealed Carry Permit
Renewal applications are mailed out 90 – 120 days before permits expire. If your permit has been expired for more than 18 months then you MUST submit a paper renewal form and copy of your current SCDL, online renewal is not an option.
Renewal applicants can choose to submit a paper application or use the online IdentoGo registration system. At this time, SLED will continue to process all submitted applications received from the IdentoGo appointments made online and any applications made by mail. To submit a paper application, download the application form.
Complete the application. You will need the following documents:
Photocopy of driver’s license or state ID card;
Real property tax form R168 for non-resident applicants;
Resident aliens will need to submit a copy of their alien card; and
$50.00 fee (certified check, cashier’s check or money order made payable to SLED).
If you are a Disabled Veteran, or Retired Law Enforcement you are EXEMPT from paying the $50 fee, but you must provide documentation proving such status.
For paper renewals, send to:
SC Law Enforcement Division (SLED) Attention CWP Renewal PO Box 21398 Columbia, SC 29221
You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.
Law enforcement officers (LEOs) and Retired LEOs (RLEOs) may choose to carry under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), often referred to as HR 218. Under 18 U.S. Code §§ 926B & 926C, qualified LEOs and qualified retired LEOs, or those separated from service in good standing, can carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with some exceptions. For details check out our Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) page.
Per S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31-600, qualified RLEOs may carry under LEOSA with an identification card and proof of annual firearms qualification. The agency or department must provide the qualified retired law enforcement officer with the opportunity to qualify to carry a firearm under the same standards for training and qualification for active law enforcement officers to carry firearms. Out-of-state RLEOs may contact local police/sheriff for annual qualification.
Where Can I Carry a Concealed Firearm in South Carolina?
Carry in bars/restaurants that serve alcohol? Yes, unless posted and provided you do not consume any alcohol.
Carry in my vehicle without a permit/license? Without a permit the firearm must be secured in a closed glove compartment, closed console or closed trunk.
Carry in roadside rest areas? Yes.
Carry in state/national parks, state/national forests, and WMAs? Yes.
Carry on public transportation? No.
Where Can't I Carry a Concealed Firearm in South Carolina?
Places off-limits even with a permit/license
Any private or public school, college, university, technical college or other post-secondary institution without the express permission of the authorities in charge (except CWP permit holders can leave their firearm properly secured in a vehicle); and
Any publicly owned building or property without permission from persons in charge (except CWP permit holders can leave their firearm properly secured in a vehicle).
It is legal to own or open carry any kind of knife in South Carolina. It is legal to conceal carry any type of knife, so long as you do not use the knife to commit or aid in the commission of a crime. Knives are not allowed on elementary or secondary school property and counties and municipalities may have blade limits.
I can legally carry a concealed firearm in South Carolina, but can I wear a COVID 19 protective mask while carrying concealed?
SLED issued the following statement, “There is no South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) law that prohibits a South Carolina CWP holder from wearing a mask to comply with a city or county health ordinance or to help stop the spread of COVID-19 while carrying a concealed weapon in South Carolina.”
CARRY WHILE GUN HUNTING?
Can you concealed carry while shotgun/rifle hunting in South Carolina?
Can you concealed carry while bow hunting in South Carolina?
Yes, persons who have a CWP pursuant to SC-31-205 may possess a handgun while on any WMA. During a primitive weapons season (archery or muzzleloader), a handgun may not be used to take or attempt to take game.
Here at the USCCA, it is our mission to provide responsible gun owners with the tools they need to be educated and trained. Our team is constantly working to provide you with the most up-to-date and comprehensive list of self-defense laws available for every state.
If you have any questions that you don’t see answered here — let us know! Just email [email protected] and we will be sure to get your question resolved. Your feedback matters to us, and we appreciate you helping to make this page the best possible resource for responsible gun owners!
Permit numbers were obtained from the Crime Prevention Resource Center’s publication entitled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States.” Numbers include resident and non-resident permits for those states that issue both.
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.
If you have any questions regarding USCCA Membership, Delta Defense, handguns laws or the lawful process of carrying concealed, please contact the award-winning Delta Defense Customer Engagement Team.
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