South Carolina Concealed Carry Laws

Last Updated: September 23, 2017

Disclaimer:  While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and is for educational and entertainment purposes only.

Every state has its own set of gun laws, so it’s no surprise that the laws on concealed carry are different from state to state as well.

Even in the relatively gun-friendly state of South Carolina, there are a few steps you’ll have to go through before you can carry concealed.

We’ll go over all the requirements and steps in getting your license and have you out defending your freedom in no time!

South Carolina State Flag
South Carolina State Flag

First Things First

Before even getting to the actual requirements for a CCW permit (actually a Concealed Weapons Permit) from South Carolina, you’ll want to make sure you are qualified for one.  No point in sending in your application (and the fee!) only to be denied because you aren’t even qualified!

Both residents and non-residents of South Carolina can be issued a CWP.  Non-residents, however, have to either own property in the state, or be in the military and on permanent change of station orders.  If you don’t meet those requirements, you will automatically be denied a CWP.

If you do meet the requirements, then there’s some additional good news:  South Carolina is a shall-issue state.  That means, as long as you met the residency requirements, and the application is filled out correctly, you will be issued a CWP!

Application Requirements 

The application itself, once you’ve determined whether you are qualified for a CWP, is filed with the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED).  The easiest way is to actually just apply online, and since you’re on this website, you can get to the SLED website too!

To apply for a Concealed Weapons Permit, you must:

  • Be 21 or older;
  • Provide a valid South Carolina driver’s license; and
  • Provide proof of training.

The training requirement is not too difficult, and is only there to make sure you know what you’re doing before the state lets you carry a handgun everywhere you go.  To meet the training requirement, you have to have completed the training in the last 3 years before filing the application.

The training itself can be a basic or advanced handgun course offered by any state, county, or municipal law enforcement agency.  The easiest way to meet the requirement is to take a South Carolina-specific course taught by an NRA-certified instructor.  Of course, you’ll need to make sure that the course teaches all the required topics.

The required training course must cover:

  • Information on the statutes and case law of the state regarding handguns and the use of deadly force;
  • Handgun use and safety;
  • Proper storage practice for handguns, including storage that reduces the possibility of accidental injury to a child; and
  • Actual firing of the handgun in the presence of an instructor.

Of course, you can skip the training requirement if you can prove you:

  • Have basic military training (with your DD214 form);
  • Are retired law enforcement;
  • Are an NRA-certified or SLED-approved course instructor;
  • Are an active duty police handgun instructor; or
  • Are a member of the active or reserve military, or the National Guard.

Basically, the State just needs to make sure you know what you’re doing.  And we’d all appreciate it too.

Man with South Carolina CWP
Man with South Carolina CWP

The Waiting Game

Once you’ve submitted your application with all of the required information and documentation (fingerprints, etc.), you will need to wait about 90 days before you get a decision back.  

If you’ve done everything correctly, you should get a shiny new CWP in the mail.  If not, you’ll get a letter telling you why you were denied.  Usually denials are due to something being left out of the application, so make sure you triple-check everything!

Once you fix everything, or hopefully didn’t make any mistakes at all in the first place, and have your CWP in hand, you’ll just need to remember to keep it on you at all times, and renew your permit every 5 years!

Where do you think you’re going?

Even if you have a CWP, there are still some places that you and your handgun will have to avoid.

A concealed weapon, even with a permit, is not allowed in:

  • Law enforcement, correctional, or detention facilities;
  • Courthouses and courtrooms;
  • Polling places on election days;
  • Offices or business meetings of the governing body of a county, school district, or municipality (i.e. City Hall);
  • School or college athletic events not related to firearms;
  • Daycare or preschool facilities;
  • Churches or other places of worship, unless given permission by the appropriate officials;
  • Hospitals, medical clinics, or any other facility where medical services or procedures are performed; or
  • Places clearly marked with a sign prohibiting the carrying of a concealable weapon on the premises.

Of course, it’s also important to keep in mind that if you are going to someone’s house, you should ask them for permission to bring your firearm into their house.  Aside from the law, it’s also just common courtesy.  Though if someone isn’t into guns, should they really be your friend?  Just sayin’.

One More Thing

Even though you are allowed to bring your concealed firearm into establishments that sell alcohol for consumption (i.e. a bar, not just a liquor store), you cannot drink while you’re in the bar or restaurant if you are carrying.  If you want to join your friends for a couple drinks, then you may want to leave your handgun in your car safe (you have one, right?).

Car gun safe under seat
Locked Away and Out of Sight

Reciprocity

One of the most important features of a CWP!  A South Carolina CWP is recognized by a little over half of the states in the US, so there’s a good chance that you will be able to bring your trusty sidearm with you on your next trip.

A South Carolina CWP is recognized in:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

However, if you are visiting Michigan or Florida, only those of you with resident permits will be able to carry concealed.  Non-resident permits are not recognized by those two states, for whatever reason.  But you’ve got a bunch of other states to visit, so it’s not a total loss.

South Carolina reciprocity map
South Carolina CWP honored by states in blue.

Just Visiting? 

For everyone else who has a CCW permit from their home state and wants to visit the Palmetto State, if your state is listed above, then you’re probably good to go.  Probably.  Only resident permits are recognized, even if your state is on the list.  

There are additional restrictions though.  A West Virginia CCW permit is only recognized in South Carolina if you are 21 or older.  For those from Idaho, Mississippi, North Dakota, or South Dakota, only an enhanced CCW permit will be recognized in South Carolina.  If you’re wondering how to get that type of permit, go check out the CCW sections on those states!

Carry on! 

That’s it!  All you need to know about getting a Concealed Weapons Permit from South Carolina!  Take a look at our recommendations for concealed holsters if you’re looking to put that new permit to good use, and don’t forget about CCW insurance, too!

And don’t forget to check out our South Carolina gun laws section and brush up on your knowledge if you haven’t already!