As a criminal defense attorney in North Charleston, South Carolina, I have experience in offering advice in obtaining a concealed carry permit as well as the laws surrounding the permit in our state. The Second Amendment to the United States Constitution gives citizens the right to carry firearms. To comply with state law, it is important to first understand how you may carry the weapon on your person. It is very important to know the difference between open-carry and concealed carry.

What’s the Difference Between Open Carry and Concealed Carry?

Many states allow open carry of a weapon. Open carry states allow gun owners to carry a weapon in view of the public, such as a belt holster. The weapon must be visible and in a non-threatening position. South Carolina is not an open-carry state.

South Carolina is, however, a concealed carry state. As the term implies, gun owners can legally carry firearms out of the view of the public (concealed) – in a pants pocket or a jacket or a jacket.

How do I Apply For a Conceal Carry Permit in South Carolina?

The first step is to ensure that you have the proper qualifications before applying. Proper qualifications include enrolling in a mandatory certified weapons safety course with accompanying certificate. Many weapons safety courses can be found online and cost roughly $50. Download and print the certificate and take it with you when applying for the concealed weapon permit (CWP).

A military or law enforcement background is the exception to the mandatory weapons safety course certification. For example, having served your country, you have the ultimate proof of weapons qualification – a DD-Form 214.  Bring the DD-Form 214 with you when applying.

What Are Other Qualifications Needed To Obtain a Concealed Weapons Permit in South Carolina?

Additional items needed to obtain a concealed carry permit include:

  • a 21 years old minimum to apply
  • a quality photocopy of your state-issued driver’s license or officially issued identification card
  • a non-refundable payment of $50.00 (certified check, cashier’s check, or money order) made payable to SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division)
  • two (2) complete, legible sets of fingerprint cards

Is My South Carolina Concealed Carry Permit Valid In Other States?

Currently, there are 22 states that offer reciprocity to South Carolina concealed weapons permit holders. Reciprocity refers to the agreement between two states to honor each other’s concealed carry permits. States that offer reciprocity to South Carolina concealed weapon permit are:

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, KansasKentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota , Texas, Tennessee, VirginiaWest Virginia and Wyoming.

What Should I Do If I Am Stopped By Police In a Reciprocity State?

If stopped by police officers in a reciprocity state, let the officer know who you are and that you hold a concealed carry permit. “Officer, my name is Rad Deaton, I have a concealed weapon permit and I am in possession of a firearm.  How would you like me to proceed?” You have not only identified yourself,  that you are in possession of a concealed weapon permit, and you let the officers know that they are completely in control of the situation.  I can assure you, the officers will appreciate it.