As an Independent Program Attorney for U.S. LawShield of South Carolina, I have been asked “Can I carry my gun into a bank?”
What the Law Says
South Carolina is not an open carry state or a constitutional carry state. In order to carry a firearm on your person in public, you must possess a Concealed Weapons Permit (“CWP”) from the State of South Carolina or equivalent from a state with reciprocity.
A bank is not one of the listed prohibited places under S.C. Code Ann. §23-31-215, so you are allowed to carry a concealed firearm into a bank with your CWP. If there is not a “no concealable weapons allowed” sign at each entrance which comports to the exacting requirements under S.C. Code Ann. §23-31-235, then you are good to go.
For a sign to be legally enforceable, it must meet the signage requirements which must be followed by any business in South Carolina which seeks to prevent a CWP holder from entering while carrying concealed.
These requirements provide:
(B) All signs must be posted at each entrance into a building where a concealable weapon permit holder is prohibited from carrying a concealable weapon and must be:
- clearly visible from outside the building;
- eight inches wide by twelve inches tall in size;
- contain the words “NO CONCEALABLE WEAPONS ALLOWED” in black one-inch tall uppercase type at the bottom of the sign and centered between the lateral edges of the sign;
- contain a black silhouette of a handgun inside a circle seven inches in diameter with a diagonal line that runs from the lower left to the upper right at a forty-five degree angle from the horizontal;
- a diameter of a circle; and
- placed not less than forty inches and not more than sixty inches from the bottom of the building’s entrance door.
It is better to err on the side of caution and leave your firearm in the car if you see a “no concealable weapons allowed” sign at your bank. If you are arrested and the courts find the sign is enforceable you could be sentenced up to one year in prison, a $1,000.00 fine, or both for unlawful possession of a weapon pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. §16-23-50; or up to 30 days in jail or not more than a $200.00 fine under S.C. Code Ann. §16-11-620 for trespassing after warning.
Alternatively, if you have been given actual notice by a person in authority at the bank that you may not carry on the property and you persist in doing so, you can also be arrested for trespassing after warning.
If you have any questions about carrying a firearm into a bank, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.