Gun laws in South Carolina
|Subject/Law||Long Guns||Handguns||Relevant Statutes||Notes|
|Permit to purchase required?||No||No|
|Owner license required?||No||No|
|Carry permits issued?||No||Yes||SC Code 23-31-210||South Carolina is a "shall issue" state for concealed carry.|
|Open carry permitted?||No||No|
|State preemption of local restrictions?||Yes||Yes|
|"Assault weapon" law?||No||No|
|Magazine Capacity Restriction?||No||No|
|NFA weapons restricted?||No||No||SC Code 16-23-210 through 16-23-250||Permitted if registered in accordance with federal laws. State law makes possession, storage, and transfer illegal but then grants an exception for "any person authorized to possess these weapons by the United States Department of the Treasury, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, or any other federal agency empowered to grant this authorization".|
South Carolina is a "shall issue" concealed carry permit state. No permit is required to purchase rifles, shotguns, or handguns. South Carolina also has "Castle Doctrine" legal protection of the use of deadly force against intruders into one's home, business, or car. It is unlawful to carry a firearm onto private or public school property or into any publicly owned building except interstate rest areas without express permission. Open carry is not allowed, but no permit is required to carry a loaded handgun in the console or glove compartment of a car. As of September 12, 2008, states with which South Carolina has reciprocity are: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
South Carolina law also now supports a "stand your ground" philosophy under the "Protection of Persons and Property Act" SECTION 16-11-440(C) with the following language. The act was apparently ruled non-retroactive in State v. Dickey.
A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in another place where he 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 reasonably believes it is necessary to prevent death or great bodily injury to himself or another person or to prevent the commission of a violent crime as defined in Section 16–1–60.
South Carolina also has the “alter-ego” clause with respect to the defense of others, under which a person who uses deadly force to defend a friend, relative or bystander will be allowed the benefit of the plea of self-defense if that plea would have been available to the person requiring assistance if they had been the one who used deadly force. In other words, the person intervening is deemed to “stand in the shoes” of the person on whose behalf he is intervening. If that individual “had the right to defend himself, then the intervening party is also protected by that right. To claim self-defense, a person has to be in a place they have a legal right to be, not be involved in any illegal activity, must not have started the confrontation, and must be in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm.
- "State Gun Laws: South Carolina", National Rifle Association – Institute for Legislative Action. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- "South Carolina State Law Summary", Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
- "Protection of Persons and Property Act", South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Retrieved December 26, 2012.
- South Carolina Concealed Carry CCW Laws and Information on carryconcealed.net[dead link]
- South Carolina Concealed Carry Permit Information on USACarry.com
- State v. Dickey and S.C.'s "stand your ground" law dead link