On May 17, 2021, Governor Henry McMaster signed Act No. 66 into law, the Open Carry with Training Act. That law became effective on August 15, 2021. Anyone who has a valid Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) issued by the State of South Carolina, (or any other U.S. state with which South Carolina enjoys reciprocity), may now openly or concealed carry their handgun or a concealable weapon (a firearm having a length of less than twelve inches measure along its greatest dimension). With this change, it is important to remember that the CWP holder must have their permit on their person, regardless of their carry method. If asked by a law enforcement officer for identification, he or she must present the permit along with their driver’s license or other appropriate identification.
This new law does not affect the rights of private property owners, employers, or public officials to prohibit anyone from carrying a handgun into places of business or public buildings. Governmental entities may also ban the carrying of firearms at public gatherings by posting signs to notify the public of the restriction. The new law doesn’t change where a CWP holder may carry his or her handgun—so in that respect, where and when a person can carry a handgun remains much the same. All current, valid CWP’s will still be honored.
CWP applications mailed to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) prior to August 15, 2021, required a $50.00 application fee or a $5.00 reissue fee. The CWP application can be found on the SLED website. After that date, there are no fees associated with the issuance or the reissuance of a CWP; however, those applying after August 15, 2021, will have additional training requirements that include properly securing a handgun in a holster, carrying a handgun, how to respond to someone who attempts to take your handgun from your holster, and de-escalation techniques and strategies.
One final note relates to carrying a handgun in your vehicle and it allows for the CWP holder to also carry his or her handgun “concealed on or about his or her person” while in addition to where a CWP holder could carry it prior to August 15, 2021, pursuant to S.C. Code of Laws Ann. §16-23-20(9).
If you have any questions about the new Open Carry with Training Law here in South Carolina or any other questions, please feel free to call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
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