Each new year means law-abiding gun owners in South Carolina need to be on the lookout for the latest assault on the Second Amendment. You may have seen discussions about bills that could affect your gun and self-defense rights. Here is a preview of some bills and issues that have been filed and raised (so far) that are noteworthy. However, please keep in mind that all the bills and resolutions listed below are currently proposals and not law.
2021 Proposals for South Carolina
While the last two-year term of the South Carolina Legislature produced no significant change to South Carolina gun laws, the next two-year term has seen the introduction of several pre-filed bills that could affect gun rights. The Legislature has the next two years to act on these bills or they will die in Committee, requiring them to be refiled for the 2022-2023 Legislative Session. Below are just a few of the bills currently pending in the South Carolina Legislature.
Perhaps the most important bills that have been pre-filed are the Constitutional Carry Bills H3039 and H3036. The South Carolina Constitutional Carry Act of 2021 proposes to eliminate Concealed Weapons Permits (“CWP”) and allow anyone, who is not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm, to carry on his or her person a concealable weapon. This bill would also:
- extend those rights to residents of other states when they are in South Carolina;
- add additional areas of the motor vehicle where unlicensed owners could carry their firearm;
- eliminate the need for a CWP by an employee at their place of business when authorized by the owner to carry a firearm;
- allow for any legal firearm owner to carry a handgun on school property, under certain conditions;
- eliminate the need for a CWP by a legal firearm owner when entering a bar, restaurant, or other establishment serving alcohol, as long as the legal firearm owner doesn’t consume alcohol while carrying a firearm; and
- allow a legal firearm owner to carry his or her firearm into any business not prohibited by law unless otherwise properly posted without a CWP.
A separate bill, H3503, eliminates colleges, universities, technical colleges, and other postsecondary institutions from the prohibited places a CWP holder may not carry his or her weapon.
Senate Bill S44 has also been pre-filed which would create two new classifications of Concealed Carry status: Confirmed Carry Status and Institutional Concealed Weapon Permit (“ICWP”). At the expiration of a CWP holder’s current permit, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division would notify the CWP licensee that he or she had confirmed carry status and the requirement to renew the CWP would no longer be applicable. The new Institutional Concealed Carry Permit licensee would not only have to meet the requirements of the current CWP laws but would further require annual participation in a training course at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy. As a result, the ICWP licensee would have much broader authorization as to where and when they could carry their concealed handgun, such as a school or college event, daycare or preschool facility, church or other established religious sanctuary, or a doctor’s office or other medical clinic, etc.
One exciting new aspect of S44 is a proposal to make any premises owner who prohibits concealed carry on their property strictly liable for any injury sustained by a concealed weapon permit holder from the perpetrator of a crime. The proposed law would provide for damages and attorneys’ fees to compensate a permit holder if they are injured as a result of a property owner’s no-gun policy.
Federal Proposals on the Horizon
Last session, the 116th U.S. Congress proposed assault weapons bans, red flag orders, mandatory reporting of NICS denials to law enforcement, and countless other anti-2A legislation. All of these individual proposals were awful, but none were worse than the omnibus HR 5717 (Gun Violence Prevention and Community Safety Act of 2020), which would have incorporated the worst provisions of each of these proposals. If you want a preview of what anti-gun bills filed during the 117th Congress could look like, pay attention to HR 5717. The 117th Congress was sworn in on January 3, 2021, and their term ends on January 3, 2023. To learn about how federal law is made, check out The Legislative Process by the United States House of Representatives, and stay tuned. We are keeping a close watch for bills and resolutions that would affect Second Amendment rights.
For more information about 2021 legislation that could impact your rights as a law-abiding gun owner, contact 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.
get it through the State Senate and make SC a Second Ammendment Sanctuary State like Arizona! Am I clear that my CWP only gives me the advantage of carrying concealed on my person in a vehicle?
Scott…. I don’t see that your question was answered. I was a little concerned so I looked into this and have pasted the following details. This is from 2015 so I imagine that this has change a bit with the Open Carry with CWP as of 08/15/21.
Vehicle Carry without a CWP:
Without a CWP you can carry a concealed handgun, loaded if you like, but it must be “secured in a closed glove compartment, closed console, closed trunk, or in a closed container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the luggage compartment of the vehicle.” SC Code Ann. 16-23-20 (9)(a). In the case of the glove compartment and console the firearm is accessible to you, and this is explicitly allowed by the law. In the case of the trunk or another container the firearm will be in the luggage compartment and theoretically out of your reach.
Two asides to this general rule are worth noting. First, nothing herein overrides the general prohibition of carrying firearms on school grounds and the grounds of the Statehouse Capital. If you will be parking your vehicle on either, and you do not have a CWP, you cannot have a firearm in the vehicle.
Second, you may open “the glove compartment, console, or trunk . . . in the presence of a law enforcement officer for the sole purpose of retrieving a driver’s license, registration, or proof of insurance” without violating the laws relating to the carrying of handguns. So if you are stopped and asked for your registration, which is stored with your handgun, notify the officer first of the handgun and its presence with the papers and ask for his directions on retrieving it. Some officers will retrieve the document themselves, others will let you retrieve it under their watch, and some will decide to go without. (Remember both of you have the same goal: not being shot!)
Vehicle Carry with a CWP:
A CWP recognized in South Carolina will provide you with additional locations and means to carry.
First, with a CWP, a person can have firearms in his vehicle while on school grounds or the Statehouse Capital. Both of these are specific exemptions that are worthy of examination in their on right. For our purposes, we’ll just note the allowances exist and will leave the specific limitations to a later article.
Second, with a CWP a person may also carry a handgun “under a seat in a vehicle” or “in any open or closed storage compartment within the vehicle’s passenger compartment.” SC Code Ann. 16-23-20 (9)(a). Beneath the seat is easily understood, but the exception for any open or closed storage compartment is much broader. This is a recent amendment to the statute, and case law is lacking. Arguably, any compartment, pocket, or container built into the vehicle would be usable for the storage of a handgun whether or not it closes or is closed. This extends the carry area from the glove box and console to door pockets, compartments within the dash, and other cubbies within the vehicle designed for the storage of luggage. Because this exception is by the person, I believe it is prudent to use pockets nearest the CWP holder.
While the statute does not clearly state, I believe that the storage compartment must be integral to the vehicle. This would prevent you from bolting on a holster to create a special storage compartment for the handgun. (Though nothing would prevent the factory from doing so.)
South Carolina allows ample places for CWP and Non-CWP holders alike to carry a handgun in their vehicle. Without a CWP, your loaded firearm is limited to the glovebox, console, and luggage compartment. With a CWP, you can store a handgun under the seat or in another convenient compartment.
If you intend to take your vehicle, with firearm, to a controlled environment such as school grounds or the Statehouse Capital, you should familiarize yourself with the specific restrictions and exemptions contained within those sections of law.
My dad told me women and children are only safe in this world only as long as men allow them to be or you can protect yourself so dad gave me a gun and taught me to use it safely when I started driving and I’ve carried it everyday since. I’ve never had to use it and I’ve never pulled it on anyone but if it became necessary I can and will use it. I pray I never have to. Protecting yourself is a right we all have.
I live in Washington DC can I apply for a CCW gun permit
I moved to South Carolina from Mississippi and couldn’t believe the commie gun laws they have. I don’t need permission from the state to protect my family and myself. I’m a combat veteran and most importantly a father, take your CCW and go fly a kite.