South Carolina Gun Laws

Gun Control Laws in South Carolina

South Carolina is a “Shall Issue” state for concealed carry permits, but you do not need a license to purchase a rifle, handgun or shotgun in South Carolina. South Carolina also has a "Castle Doctrine” allowing a homeowner to use deadly force to protect their property, family and themselves. South Carolina also supports the “stand your ground” policy where you are not legally bound to retreat when attacked. You can stand your ground and fight back with force. Open carry is allowed for long guns but not for handguns. You can carry a handgun in your car without a license as long as it is hidden in a glove box or trunk. South Carolina gun laws also include an “alter-ego” clause that allows you to protect a family member or innocent bystander with force if they are the one attacked or threatened. South Carolina issues carry permits to residents and non-residents as long as they own property in South Carolina. Special dispensation is given to members of the military. There are currently 308,406 carry permits in the state.

State CCW Quick Facts

  • Shall Issue State gun policy
  • No Open Carry Permitted
  • No Constitutional Carry
  • Yes Carry In Restaurants
  • Yes Carry In Vehicle
  • Residents/Non-residents License issued to
  • 308,406 Number of Active CCW Permits
  • 33 # of states that honor South Carolina license
  • 33 # of state licenses that South Carolina honors
  • 5 Years license is valid
  • 50 $ cost of the license
  • 21 Minimum age for license permit

South Carolina’s policy is Shall Issue in practice and its license is issued to residents. You can carry a handgun in: state parks, state and national forests, road side rest areas, vehicle, all areas of the state not listed as forbidden.

South Carolina CCW Reciprocity Map

The following thirty-three states offer reciprocity for

South Carolina residents, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

These states honor a South Carolina carry permit for non-residents: 

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming. South Carolina honors permits from these twenty-three states, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. These seventeen states refused to honor a South Carolina concealed carry permit, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Washington.

  • Permit honored
  • Permit not honored
  • Issuing state

South Carolina Concealed Carry Permit and Laws

South Carolina is a “Shall Issue” state. Open carry is not allowed for handguns, only long guns, with or without a permit. You can carry the firearm in your vehicle, but it must be in the glove box or trunk, away from passengers. If you encounter an officer, you must notify them you are carrying. You can carry in state parks, wildlife preserves, and restaurants but you must also honor “no weapons” signs. You may not carry in any courthouse, jail, prison, detention center, law enforcement or government building, school or daycare, church, hospital or any federal “off limits” areas. Your permit is good for five years, and you must pay a $50 when you apply.

CCW Eligibility: Qualify or Pre-Qualify?

To apply for a concealed carry license, you must be at least 21 years old and have taken a firearms training course. You must have a photo ID, proof of residency, and submit to a background check and fingerprinting. You cannot be convicted of a felony. You must have 20/40 vision even if using corrective lenses. You must not have been deemed “unfit” to own a firearm by any judge, court or police official. South Carolina is not a constitutional carry state.

South Carolina Gun Background Check

South Carolina is not a “point of contact” state, and therefore gun dealers must contact the FBI and use the NCIS system to run a background check before selling firearms to a buyer. Private sales do not require a background check. When you apply for a CCW a background check is performed, so you may buy a gun without going through that process again. You must present your license at the time of purchase. Unlicensed dealers do not need to run a background check before selling handguns.

  • Permits
  • Handguns
  • Long Guns
  • Total

SC CCW and Pistol Permit Information

State Concealed Carry Requirements

  • Must be at least 21 years old.
  • You have completed an approved firearms training class.
  • Reside in South Carolina, or if a resident of another state submit proof you own property in South Carolina.
  • You have not been convicted of a violent crime that is a felony.
  • You must have actual or corrected vision of 20/40.
  • Are not a person who, by order of a circuit judge or county court judge of South Carolina, has been adjudged unfit to carry or possess a firearm.
  • Federal law requirements

Gun CCW Permit Application

  1. Complete your firearm training course if required.
  2. Download the application form.
  3. You will need the following documents; Photocopy of drivers license or state ID card. Real property tax form R168 – for non-resident applicants. Application form signed by by you and firearms instructor. Two complete fingerprint cards. Applicants must include a non-refundable payment of $50.00 (certified check, cashier’s check, or money order) made payable to SLED. You must submit a signed copy of the SLED CWP Instructor/Student Checklist with your application CWP training courses must have been completed within three years of filing the application. Active duty military applicants must submit military orders. Retired or former military applicants must submit a copy of their DD214.
  4. Mail all this information to; CWP Application, SLED Data Center, PO Box 21398, Columbia, SC 29221-1398
  5. You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.
  6. Non-Residents The only way a non-resident can obtain a South Carolina CWP permit is if they own property in the state. You will need to download the property tax form and then have this signed by an Assessor to verify you own the property. Then you can just follow the normal application process for residents.

CCW Renewal

  • SLED has stated it is currently taking about 65 days to process renewals.
  • - Renewal applications are mailed out 90 – 120 days before permits expire.
  • - You will need to submit a photocopy of your state drivers license or ID card.
  • - Non-residents will need to send in a property tax form.
  • - Resident aliens will need to submit a copy of their alien card.
  • Online Renewals
  • Online renewals are available if you meet the following conditions;
  • 1. The renewal application is made within 89 days of the permits expiry date.
  • 2. Your application is not more that 60 days past the expiry date.
  • 3. There have been no changes to the information on your permit since your last application.

SC Concealed Carry License Fee information

Permit typeFees when getting a new permitRenewalCurrent license amendmentFingerprint scan feeFee for firearm classesAdditional state fees
Concealed weapons permit (handguns)$50.00$50.00$5.00$125.00

Places Where You Can & Can’t Carry a Gun in South Carolina

State parksLaw enforcement office or facility
State and national forestsDetention or correctional facility
Road side rest areasCourthouse or courtroom
VehiclePolling place on election days
All areas of the state not listed as ForbiddenAny publicly owned building or property without permission from persons in charge
State Capitol building or grounds
Office of or the business meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special purpose district
School or college athletic event not related to firearms
Daycare or preschool facility
Place where federal law prohibits the carrying of firearms
Church or other established religious sanctuary
Hospital, doctors office, medical clinic or any building medical services are performed in
Place clearly marked with a sign prohibiting the carrying of a concealable weapon on the premises.
Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law

South Carolina CCW Contact

South Carolina Bureau of Firearms


Monday – Friday:8:00 am – 4:30 pm


Address:South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
4400 Broad River Road
City:Columbia, SC 29210
Phone:(803) 896-7015

CCW Licensing Offices in South Carolina

Law Enforcement Division SLED

Office Address
4400 Broad River Road Columbia, SC29210

(803) 896-7015

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Reference Links

Counties in South Carolina