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South Carolina Gun Rights

An Overview of Firearms Laws in the Palmetto State


Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms?

Yes. 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.

Concealed Carry

South Carolina is a shall-issue state, meaning authorities are required by law to issue carry permits to qualified applicants. Qualified applicants must be at least 21 years of age and not be barred from possessing a gun under state or federal law. Unlike most states, South Carolina also has a vision requirement for carry permit applicants. To receive a permit, applicants must have proof of 20/40 vision, or proof of corrected 20/40 vision.

Those barred from possessing handguns under South Carolina law include anyone convicted of a crime of violence, fugitives from justice, anyone who is a member of a “subversive organization,” anyone who has been declared mentally incompetent and anyone who is a habitual drunkard or drug user.

Carry permits in South Carolina are issued by local chiefs of police. The permits are valid for four years, at a cost of $50.

South Carolina’s carry permits are honored by the following states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

South Carolina honors carry permits from the states of Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Castle Doctrine

South Carolina has a self-defense law based on the castle doctrine. The law permits the use of physical force, including deadly force, when persons are attacked in a place they have a right to be, including their place of business. The law does not require a duty to retreat from attackers. It provides civil and criminal immunity to persons who use force to stop an attacker. In order to apply, the law requires that the victim not be engaged in illegal activity and that the force be necessary to prevent death, serious injury or a violent crime.

Pro-Gun Provisions

While open carry is generally prohibited in South Carolina, the state does allow loaded handguns to be transported in a vehicle, with or without a permit. However, those who do not have carry permits must have the gun stored in a glove compartment, console or the trunk of the vehicle.

South Carolina has a state firearms preemption law that prevents cities and counties from enacting gun laws that are more restrictive than state law. The state also has a range protection law that extends protection to gun firing ranges.


  • Gun bans: None.
  • Waiting period for gun purchases: None.
  • Licenses or permits required to purchase guns: None.
  • Registration of guns required? No.

Following is a list of places in South Carolina where gun possession is off limits, with or without a permit to carry:

  • Law enforcement facilities
  • Detention facilities
  • Courthouses
  • Election polling places
  • Government offices
  • School and college athletic events
  • Day care facilities
  • Health care facilities
  • Churches
  • Any privately-owned establishments prohibiting firearms
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