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Constitutional Carry – What are the New 2024 Gun Laws in South Carolina?

Constitutional Carry – What are the New 2024 Gun Laws in South Carolina?
Axelrod & Associates, P.A.

South Carolina’s “constitutional carry” law, H. 3594, went into effect on March 7, 2024.

Now, anyone not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm can carry a gun anywhere in the state, concealed or openly, except for sensitive locations like courthouses and police departments.

Below, we will discuss the new rules in South Carolina for concealed carry under the 2024 gun laws, including:

  • What “constitutional carry” means,
  • The 2024 changes to SC gun laws,
  • Where you can carry a gun in SC, and
  • Locations where you cannot carry a gun in SC.

What Does Constitutional Carry Mean?

“Constitutional carry” is the idea that the Second Amendment protects every citizen’s right to carry a gun anywhere without requirements like a concealed carry permit or firearms training.

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Does the Second Amendment protect the right to keep and bear arms for purposes of maintaining a well-regulated militia, or does it protect the right of the people to keep and bear arms regardless of whether they are participating in a militia?

The Second Amendment, regardless of the words it contains, means what the US Supreme Court says it means, and right now that means we all have the right to carry a gun wherever and whenever we please with limited exceptions.

South Carolina’s constitutional carry legislation is bringing our state’s gun laws into line with the US Supreme Court’s recent opinions in cases like New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen (2022).

What Changed in SC’s 2024 Gun Law Amendments?

South Carolina’s constitutional carry law makes it legal to carry a gun just about anywhere without a concealed weapon permit (CWP), openly or concealed.

The new gun law repeals SC Code § 16-23-460, which required a CWP to carry a concealed firearm. It also repeals SC Code § 23-31-230 and SC Code § 23-31-225 because they are now covered under the new laws.

What are the Rules for Constitutional Carry in SC?

Can anyone carry a gun anywhere in South Carolina?

No – there are still restrictions on who can possess a firearm as well as where you can carry a gun in SC.

For example, both state and federal law prohibit certain people from carrying a firearm like persons convicted of a felony carrying a year or more in prison, persons who are mentally ill, and persons who have been convicted of a crime of domestic violence.

There are also restrictions on where you can carry a gun in SC.

Where Can You Carry a Gun in Your Car Under SC’s Constitutional Carry Law?

Under South Carolina’s old gun laws, you would be arrested if you didn’t have your gun in a closed glovebox, center console, trunk, or secured container in the luggage compartment.

Under the constitutional carry law, you can store your gun anywhere in your vehicle – on the dashboard, under your seat, in the glove box, or in your pocket. There is also no requirement to inform law enforcement that you have a firearm, although you probably should.

The rules are different if you are “on any premises or property owned, operated, or controlled by a private or public school, college, university, technical college, other post-secondary institution, or in any publicly owned building.” When you are on school property, guns must be “secured in a closed glove compartment, closed console, closed trunk, or in a closed container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the luggage compartment of the vehicle.”

What Places Are Off-Limits for Guns Under SC’s Constitutional Carry Law?

Some locations are off-limits for guns, including sensitive areas like courthouses, jails, and police departments.

If you are not otherwise prohibited, you can carry a gun anywhere in SC, openly or concealed, except a:

(1) law enforcement, correctional, or detention facility;

(2) courthouse, courtroom, or other publicly owned building, whether owned by the State, a county, a municipality, or other political subdivision, where court is held and during the time that court is in session;

(3) polling place on election days;

(4) office of or business meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special purpose district;

(5) school or college athletic event not related to firearms;

(6) daycare facility or preschool facility;

(7) place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law;

(8) church or other established religious sanctuary unless express permission is given by the appropriate church official or governing body;

(9) hospital, medical clinic, doctor’s office, or any other facility where medical services or procedures are performed, unless expressly authorized by the appropriate entity;

(10) residence or dwelling place of another person without the express permission of the owner or person in legal control or possession of the residence or dwelling place, as appropriate; or

(11) place clearly marked with a sign prohibiting the carrying of a concealable weapon on the premises in compliance with Section 23-31-235. A person who violates a provision of this item, whether the violation is wilful or not, only may be charged with a violation of Section 16-11-620 and must not be charged with or penalized for a violation of this subsection.

Now That Constitutional Carry is Legal, Can I Get My Unlawful Carry Conviction Expunged?

Under the new SC Code § 22-5-910, if you have a prior conviction for unlawful possession of a firearm, no matter how old the conviction, you have five years to get it expunged from your record – you must apply before March 7, 2029.

Going forward, if you have “a first offense [conviction] for unlawful possession of a firearm or weapon carrying a penalty of not more than one year or a fine of one thousand dollars, or both,” you can get it expunged after three years.

Got Axelrod?

If you have been arrested and charged with a crime under SC’s gun laws, your SC criminal defense lawyer at Axelrod and Associates will help you fight the charges. We may also be able to help you get your unlawful carry conviction expunged, or, if you have convictions on your record that prevent you from owning a firearm, a pardon attorney on the Axelrod team may be able to help you restore your civil rights.

Call now at 843-353-3449 or contact us online to talk to a SC gun laws criminal defense lawyer on the Axelrod team today.

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