South Carolina has reciprocity for concealed carry permits issued by 22 other states (limitations and restrictions apply). Unfortunately, the laws vary so widely from state to state that it is actually quite easy to run afoul of the rules when entering South Carolina. At David Aylor Law Offices, our experienced criminal defense attorneys can help you fight criminal charges relating to your conceal carry permit, even if you are not a resident of South Carolina.
South Carolina Concealed Carry Law
South Carolina, like most states, maintains a strict set of laws about who can carry handguns in public and when. In general, it is unlawful to carry a handgun unless you meet one of the legal exceptions. To better understand these rules, here are some general times when a handgun can legally be carried in public:
- Commissioned law enforcement
- Military or Guard members when on duty
- Gun clubs and gun shows
- Hunters and fishermen while participating in hunting or fishing
- Firearms dealers during the ordinary course of business
- Certain security guards
- Military or civic groups (VFW, American Legion, etc.) transporting weapons for use in parades or similar public meetings
- In your home or in someone else’s home with owner’s permission
- Unloaded in a wrapper from a dealer
- Prison guards while performing duties
- Those engaged in firearms training
- Transporting directly to and from a legal use (e.g. to and from gun range)
Carrying a Handgun in Your Car
When a person has a weapon in a vehicle, the rules get a little more complicated. You must keep the gun in a secured compartment. The law says this can be your:
- Container with a fastener
- Concealed on your body (if you have a permit)
If you are on a motorcycle, the gun should be kept in a saddlebag or similar latched compartment, or on your body, provided you have the appropriate concealed carry permit. It is not illegal for the gun to be exposed if you are just retrieving your license, insurance, or registration for a police officer.
Business Owners Carrying Guns
Small business owners often feel the need to protect themselves and their property, especially those who deal in high-risk ventures, such as pawn shops, payday loan stores, jewelry dealers, or even firearms dealers. The owner of a business may have a handgun and keep it at the “fixed place of business.” So business owners and their employees are generally permitted to protect themselves with a gun, but this does not extend to taking the gun away from the premises.
Common Ways Visitors Violate South Carolina Concealed Carry Laws
Visitors to the state often violate concealed carry laws by carrying guns into businesses or government buildings. This may be because they are not properly trained in the rules or because their home state has different rules. Remember that to be guilty of a crime, there must be “intent.” Likewise, people violate the rules because they mistakenly believe their state has reciprocity with South Carolina.
How a Criminal Defense Lawyer May Be Able to Help
If your error was a simple mistake based on a good faith belief that your permit had reciprocity, or if you simply forgot the rules because your home state did not have the same policies and restrictions, you may have a good case for seeking a dismissal. In many cases, there are less severe charges that you can agree to in order to minimize the impact of the offense. But don’t expect the police or prosecutors to give you all your options.
Contact the David Aylor Law Offices today to discuss your charges and get aggressive representation. Never speak to police or prosecutors without an experienced criminal defense lawyer present.