South Carolina's New Gun Laws

Jul 08, 2024 Criminal Defense
South Carolina's New Gun Laws

South Carolina’s new gun laws represent a significant shift in the state’s approach to firearm regulation, impacting gun owners, law enforcement, and the general public. With the recent changes, it is crucial for residents to understand their rights and responsibilities under the new legislation.

These laws encompass a variety of aspects, including open carry provisions, permitting requirements, and restrictions in specific areas. By familiarizing yourself with these new regulations, you can ensure that you remain compliant and avoid potential legal issues.

Navigating the complexities of South Carolina’s new gun laws can be challenging, but you don’t have to do it alone. Our experienced legal team is here to help you understand the nuances of the legislation and how it affects you. If you are charged with a firearms offense we are here to help.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with an experienced gun charge attorney in Columbia.

Overview of Previous Gun Laws in South Carolina

Before the enactment of Bill 3594, South Carolina had relatively strict gun laws compared to some other states in the U.S. The state required a permit to carry a concealed weapon, but open carry was generally prohibited.

However, with the passage of Bill 3594, significant changes have been introduced to South Carolina’s gun laws. This includes provisions for open carry, expanded rights for gun owners, and adjustments to permitting requirements. Understanding these changes and how they impact firearm possession and use in the state is crucial for residents and law enforcement alike.

Explanation of What Constitutional Carry Permits

Bill 3594, introduced constitutional carry in South Carolina. Here are the main changes it brought to the state’s gun laws:

  1. Constitutional Carry: The bill allows individuals who are legally eligible to possess a firearm to carry openly or concealed without a permit. This means that individuals no longer need to obtain a Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) to carry a handgun for self-defense in public places.
  2. Age Requirement: While constitutional carry allows eligible individuals to carry without a permit, there are still restrictions. Individuals must be at least 21 years old to carry a firearm under constitutional carry laws, unless they are active-duty military members or honorably discharged veterans.
  3. Permit Recognition: South Carolina continues to recognize valid out-of-state permits for carrying concealed weapons, providing reciprocity with other states that have similar laws.
  4. Training: Although constitutional carry removes the requirement for a permit to carry, individuals are still encouraged to undergo firearms training for safety and proficiency.


Other significant changes include vehicle storage and whether you are required to tell the police you have a firearm if asked. If you can legally possess firearms can now carry them concealed or openly in their vehicles without a permit. This means that firearms can be kept loaded and accessible within a vehicle without the need for a concealed carry permit, as long as the individual is legally eligible to possess the firearm.

South Carolina’s constitutional carry law does not require individuals to inform police officers that they are carrying a firearm during routine encounters, such as traffic stops. However, it’s essential for gun owners to be aware of any changes to these requirements and to stay informed about their rights and responsibilities under the law.

Overall, the Constitutional Carry Act represents a significant change in South Carolina’s gun laws, affirming the right of eligible individuals to carry firearms for self-defense without the need for a permit.

Where Can You Not Have a Gun?

Even in constitutional carry states like South Carolina, there are still places where individuals are prohibited from carrying firearms, regardless of whether they have a permit or not. These locations typically include:

  1. Federal Facilities: Firearms are generally prohibited in federal buildings, such as post offices, courthouses, and military bases.
  2. Schools: Guns are prohibited on K-12 school grounds, including school buildings and school-sponsored events.
  3. Government Buildings: State and local government buildings may have restrictions on firearms, particularly in areas where court proceedings are conducted or where public meetings are held.
  4. Private Property With Signage: Property owners have the right to prohibit firearms on their premises. This includes businesses, hospitals, churches, and other private properties where signage or policies indicate that firearms are not allowed.
  5. Alcohol-serving Establishments: In many states, carrying firearms is prohibited in establishments that serve alcohol for on-premises consumption, such as bars and restaurants.
  6. Public Transportation: Firearms are typically prohibited on public transportation systems, including buses.
  7. Restricted Areas: Certain locations, such as airports, sports stadiums, and amusement parks, may have restrictions on firearms.

It’s essential for gun owners to familiarize themselves with the specific laws and regulations governing firearm possession in their state and to respect any restrictions in place, even in constitutional carry states. Not adhering to these laws can lead to you being charged with unlawful possession of a firearm.

Changes in Weapons Permits

South Carolina’s new gun laws, particularly Bill 3594, have ushered in a significant change in the state’s approach to firearm regulations. With constitutional carry now in effect, residents have greater freedom to carry concealed firearms without the need for a permit. However, it’s crucial for individuals to understand the implications of these new laws fully and to ensure they comply with all legal requirements regarding firearm possession and use.

If you have any questions or concerns about South Carolina’s new gun laws or how they may affect you, don’t hesitate to reach out to our experienced Columbia defense attorneys. We’re here to provide guidance, answer your questions, and ensure that you fully understand your rights and responsibilities under the law. Contact us today for legal assistance and peace of mind in navigating the complexities of South Carolina’s firearm regulations.

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