When Church and State Collide: Can You Carry In a South Carolina Dual Purpose Facility?

The following is a video transcript.

Under both South Carolina and federal law, possession of a firearm is prohibited on public or private school grounds, including preschools and day cares. However, an exception has been carved out for Concealed Weapons Permit holders which allows for the carrying of a weapon onto school grounds, as long as it is properly secured in the vehicle in either a closed console, closed glove box, closed trunk, or in a closed container with an integral fastener in the luggage compartment of the vehicle.

While it is illegal to carry a weapon into a church or religious service, South Carolina law provides an exception that allows for churches and religious institutions to allow certain persons to carry concealed weapons into religious services as part of what is commonly referred to as a “safety team.” This exception was created as a result of several highly publicized attacks on religious institutions and is an attempt by the religious institutions to protect their parishioners.

Interestingly, many of these religious institutions also have day cares, preschools, and regular schools attached, and individuals are precluded under both state and federal law from carrying onto the premises—even with the express written permission of the church or other religious institution. Unfortunately, at this time there is no exception to the ban of weapons on school premises, even if this preschool, day care, or school is in a separate building from the building in which religious services are held.

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If you have any questions concerning carrying on a dual use facility or other firearm-related questions, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

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