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South Carolina Gun Laws

South Carolina Gun Laws

Gun statistics rating the strictness of states across the county label the state of South Carolina as fairly restrictive. No permit is necessary in the purchase of any type of firearm; no registration of firearms is enforced; permits to carry are only issued to those seeking to carry a concealed handgun.

Furthermore, non-residents to the state of South Carolina may also purchase rifles or shotguns in the state, as long as he/she follows the necessary laws of the state as well as federal regulations. Only residents of South Carolina are allowed to purchase handguns within the state's borders. Age restrictions are not succinctly specified in the states legislature in regards to the purchase of firearms, but it can be assumed that a minimum age of 18 is required.

Possession of firearms is not restricted by permits in the state of South Carolina. Anyone under the age of 21, and those convicted of violent crimes may not be in possession of a firearm. However, South Carolina does have a special set of rules and regulations that pertain to automatic guns or machine guns. South Carolina firearm laws define a machine gun or automatic gun as a weapon that can fire in more than one shot in an automatic fashion, or without having to manually reload, and do so in the capacity of a single function of the firing mechanism. By South Carolina law, it is considered illegal to possess automatic guns or machine guns.

This also includes sawed-off shotguns and rifles. The only individuals exempt from being not being able to possess automatic guns are those currently involved with the armed forces or military, and law enforcement officers. Automatic guns kept for display or as relics must be considered inoperable and not usable. Automatic guns kept as relics must also be registered with the State Law Enforcement Division.  

The carrying of concealed handguns may only be done under a specific license. It is restricted to people who are over the age of 21 and residents of the state. Non-residents that own property in the state are also eligible. Furthermore, to apply for the license, an individual must also provide proof of having 20/40 vision, corrected or otherwise.

Permits are available at a cost of $50 and valid for up to five years. Along with the application, the qualified applicant must provide proof of residency, training, fingerprints, and a current photograph of his/her face. The application is submitted to the Chief of the State Law Enforcement Division for review. Even with a permit to carry certain locations are off limits to concealed weapons. Some of them are:

     Any kind of school, including public, private, day care, pre-schools, and colleges.


     Places of religious worship, unless approved by the appropriate person.

     Any kind of facility, building, or office pertaining to the local, state, or federal government. 

People with valid hunting licenses are also allowed to carry firearms, specifically during the allotted hunting seasons, and while traveling to and from such activity.




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