So, you want to apply for a South Carolina Concealed Weapons Permit (“CWP”), which will enable you to carry a concealable weapon for the protection of you, your family, and your property or business.
How Do You Go About Getting a CWP?
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (commonly known as “SLED”) is authorized by law to administer the Concealed Weapons Program.
S.C. Code Ann. §23-31-215 requires that SLED must issue a permit to any person at least 21 years of age who is not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm and submits the following: a completed application (available on the SLED website); a full face color photograph not smaller than 1 inch by 1 inch or larger than 3 inches by 5 inches; proof of residence; proof of actual or corrected vision, or in the event the person is a licensed driver, a valid driver’s license; proof of training; a $50 application fee that must be waived for disabled veterans and retired law enforcement officers; and a complete set of fingerprints unless a medical condition makes this impossible (must be verified by a licensed medical doctor).
Please note that proof of training means an original document or a certified copy of the document that shows the applicant has completed a basic or advanced handgun education class that includes classroom instruction and actual handgun firing proficiency from a SLED-approved instructor. It is important to know that the education requirement is at least eight hours of combined firing range and classroom instruction. SLED will then do a required background check and either issue the permit or send a letter explaining the reason the permit application was denied and outlining the appeals process.
Although recent events, such as riots and protests across the country, have not resulted in any changes to the application process, there are many more applicants at this time, resulting in significant delays in getting the CWP from SLED.
Best Practices, Common Mistakes, and Penalties
A CWP holder must carry the permit at all times when carrying a concealed handgun, and he or she must immediately present the permit when a law enforcement officer requests either identification or a driver’s license.
One frequent issue that arises is the failure of a CWP holder to wait until actual receipt of the CWP in the mail prior to carrying concealed. Anyone carrying concealed without having the CWP on their person is unlawfully carrying a handgun and faces a fine of up to $1,000 and up to one year in jail.
Another frequent issue that arises is that CWP holders do not follow the letter of the law on how they can carry the handgun in their vehicles. A CWP holder can carry on their person concealed, under the seat concealed, or in any open or closed container within the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Note the fact that the law in South Carolina requires concealed, although any lawful gun owner can carry a legal handgun in the console or glovebox as long as the glovebox or console is closed (South Carolina does not require the console or glovebox to be locked). The handgun can also be carried in the trunk; if the vehicle does not have a trunk, the handgun can be carried in the luggage area of the vehicle in an appropriate case with an integral fastener.
The same $1,000 fine or penalty of up to one year in prison applies if convicted of unlawful carrying of a handgun. CWP holders need to understand that property rights trump the CWP holder’s right to carry onto any premises where a SLED compliant sign is posted by a public or private employer, private property owner, or person in legal possession or control, prohibiting a CWP holder from carrying onto their property. A violation of this provision carries up to a $200 fine or up to 30 days in jail. A CWP holder may not carry a concealable weapon into the residence or dwelling of another person without their express permission. A conviction under this statute can result in a fine of not more than $1,000, or not more than one year in prison, or both.
Finally, a CWP is valid for five years. Prior to its expiration, the CWP holder must submit a completed renewal application, a payment of a $50 renewal fee, and submission of a photocopy of the applicant’s South Carolina identification card or valid South Carolina driver’s license. Upon receipt of these items, SLED is required to facilitate a local, state, and federal fingerprint review of the applicant; if the background check is favorable, SLED must renew the CWP.
For any questions regarding getting a Concealed Weapons Permit in the State of South Carolina, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
The information provided in this publication is intended to provide general information to individuals and is not legal advice. The information included in this publication may not be quoted or referred to in any other publication without the prior written consent of U.S. LawShield, to be given or withheld at our discretion. The information is not a substitute for, and does not replace the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. We strive to ensure the information included in this publication is accurate and current, however, no claim is made to the accuracy of the information and we are not responsible for any consequences that may result from the use of information in this publication. The use of this publication does not create an attorney-client relationship between U.S. LawShield, any independent program attorney, and any individual.