South Carolina

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. As, in times of peace, armies are dangerous to liberty, they shall not be maintained without the consent of the General Assembly. The military power of the State shall always be held in subordination to the civil authority and be governed by it. No soldier shall in time of peace be quartered in any house without the consent of the owner nor in time of war but in the manner prescribed by law.”


South Carolina is a shall-issue state. There is no permit, background check or registration required when buying from a private individual. Open carry of a handgun is illegal. Concealed carry is legal with a CWP. Concealed carry permits require a firearms training course. The minimum age to obtain a CWP is 21. SC does not honor non-resident permits from other states. SC is a Castle Doctrine state. A person has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground. 

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, South Carolina will recognize another state’s license to carry if that state recognizes South Carolina’s license:

“Valid out-of-state permits to carry concealable weapons held by a resident of a reciprocal state must be honored by this State, provided, that the reciprocal state requires an applicant to successfully pass a criminal background check and a course in firearm training and safety. A resident of a reciprocal state carrying a concealable weapon in South Carolina is subject to and must abide by the laws of South Carolina regarding concealable weapons.”

Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur.

Duty To Notify Police Officer

South Carolina requires holders of a permit or license to carry to notify and present their permit to any Officer that identifies themselves as a LEO or asks for identification or a driver’s license.

Carrying Firearms In Vehicles

South Carolina generally prohibits carrying handguns in vehicles without a permit. The exceptions are that You may transport a handgun to and from a place where You may legally possess a handgun, to or from a hunting trip, or in a vehicle if the handgun is secured in a closed glove compartment, closed console, closed trunk or closed container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the “luggage compartment” of the vehicle.

NFA Items

South Carolina permits ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law. It is legal to use suppressors for hunting.

Self-Defense Laws

South Carolina has both Castle Doctrine and SYG laws. There is no duty to retreat from any place You have a legal right to be. You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, the commission of a forcible felony, or to stop the unlawful & forcible entry into a dwelling, place of business, or occupied motor vehicle. People are immune from civil liability from lawsuits arising from their lawful use of force in self-defense.

Carry In Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Only if you possess a valid concealed handgun license/permit. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then You are prohibited from carrying into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant – You are prohibited from carrying into these areas.

You are not prohibited from carrying a firearm while consuming alcohol, but You are prohibited from discharging a firearm while intoxicated.

Do “No Gun Signs” Have The Force Of Law?

If a property or establishment has a “No Guns” sign or the person in lawful possession communicates to You that guns are not allowed, You are prohibited from carrying on the property or into the establishment. Failure to obey such signs or verbal warnings constitutes trespass.

Open Carry

Open carry of a handgun is illegal in South Carolina. Even those with a valid permit/license to carry a concealed firearm are prohibited from carrying openly. Open carry of long guns is permitted while hunting.

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