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Conway Criminal Law Blog

Can You Carry a Gun in S.C.?

The Second Amendment gives us the “right to keep and bear arms.” Our Founding Fathers stated that this was paramount to our country’s freedom. Unfortunately, each state interprets what that means differently.

South Carolina currently allows concealed weapon owners 21 years of age or older the right to openly carry a handgun with a state permit. To obtain a permit, you must successfully complete eight hours of training and have a background check.

In this article, Attorney Brad C. Richardson will review gun laws in the Palmetto State. He will also discuss the state’s self-defense laws and how a South Carolina criminal defense attorney can assist you if you are found in violation of the law.

Current South Carolina Gun Laws

South Carolina has different regulations regarding the purchase, possession, and carrying of firearms:

Proposed Legislation

Recently, the House of Representatives proposed a bill that would allow permitless carry of handguns. This would only apply to adults without prior felony convictions. With proposed changes, the Senate passed the bill with a vote of 28-15.

During the month of February, the proposed bill was passed back and forth between the House and the Senate. The Senate did add certain amendments, including having the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division offer two free gun training programs each month to be available in every county. Another proposed amendment includes a penalty of an additional three years in prison for anyone convicted of a gun offense who had not completed concealed weapons training.

The proposed legislation needs to be reviewed by a conference committee before going back to the governor. As of a February 1st statement, the governor made it clear that he plans to sign it into law.

South Carolina’s Self-Defense Laws

Castle Doctrine

Gun owners have a duty to act responsibly when handling a firearm. According to South Carolina’s Protection of Persons and Property Act, if a person forcibly or unlawfully enters your home, you have the right to defend yourself. It is assumed that if anyone enters your home illegally, the perpetrator poses a significant risk to your safety. Known as the Castle Doctrine, the protection extends to your vehicle and place of business.

Stand Your Ground

If you are attacked elsewhere, in a place you have a right to be and are not engaged in criminal activity, under state law, you are not required to retreat, but rather, you can stand your ground.

There are parameters to standing your ground. First, you must use reasonable force. If someone is attacking you, you should match their level of force in your defense. Secondly, you are allowed to use deadly force if you believe that you are in danger of death or serious bodily harm. However, law enforcement is allowed to investigate to determine if your use of force was proportionate to the initial threat.

It is up to you to use a firearm responsibly. Police officers are quick to press charges. If you believe that your life was in danger, a criminal defense lawyer will work on your behalf to get the charges against you dismissed.

Contact a South Carolina Criminal Defense Lawyer Today 

We are all afforded protections under the U.S. Constitution, but each situation poses various challenges under the law. If you have been charged with a gun offense, Attorney Brad C. Richardson is ready to defend your honor. Contact his office today online or by phone to schedule your consultation.