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Note: The processes listed below apply to the majority of people. If you are active-duty military, honorably discharged military, law enforcement, or retired law enforcement, the processes below may be slightly different (easier) when applying for a concealed carry permit.
Types of Concealed Carry Permits
Note: South Carolina sometimes refers to their concealed carry permit as a concealed weapons permit (CWP).
1) Residents & Non-Residents
- Must be a minimum of 21 years old to apply
- Issued to residents of South Carolina or qualified non-residents that own property in the state
- Valid for 5 years
- Costs $50 (+$Training Course)
Is it Required to Carry Concealed?
Yes – you must carry concealed with a concealed carry permit. Open carry is illegal, even with a concealed carry permit.
May Issue or Shall Issue?
South Carolina is a shall issue state, meaning the law states that they shall issue a permit if you meet all requirements.
Process to Apply
To get a SC concealed carry permit, you are required to apply directly to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).
- Print and complete a concealed weapon permit application here.
- Complete a SC approved firearms training course that includes live fire. Generally, courses taught by law enforcement agencies or a nationally recognized organization such as the National Rifle Association are accepted. Find a SC certified instructor here. Bring the following items when you go to take the course:
- Your completed application. This must be signed by your instructor.
- A concealed weapons permit instructor/student checklist. This needs to be completed during the course and signed by your instructor. Print a checklist here.
- Go to your local law enforcement agency to get fingerprinted. You must get 2 complete fingerprint cards to submit with your application. The fee for this service varies, but should be minimal.
- Send the following items to the mailing address listed below:
- Your completed application.
- A copy of the certificate that proves you completed an approved training course.
- Your concealed weapons permit instructor/student checklist.
- A copy of your state issued I.D. or driver’s license.
- 2 fingerprint cards.
- Application fee: A check or money order for $50 made payable to “South Carolina Law Enforcement Division“.
- If you’re applying as a non-resident, you must submit a completed Real Property Tax Form (SLED Form R-168).
After these steps are completed, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is legally required to process your application and issue/deny a license in 90 days or less. All denials may be appealed.
PO Box 21398
Columbia, SC 29221
Attn: CJIS Dissemination
Reasons an Applicant Won’t Be Approved
Your application is almost guaranteed to be denied if you meet any of the following conditions:
- You are illegally in the United States.
- You’ve been convicted of a felony.
- You are currently being indicted for a felony.
- You’ve been convicted of a violent crime, including domestic violence.
- You were adjudicated for a felony as a juvenile.
- You’ve been convicted of a crime punishable by a prison term greater than 1 year.
- You are subject to a restraining or other similar court order.
- You are a drug addict, habitual drunkard, an unlawful user of any controlled substance, or are determined to be of unsound mind.
- You have a mental illness.
- You have received voluntary or involuntary treatment in a psychiatric hospital, mental institution, or similar treatment facility for any reason.
- You are a fugitive from justice.
- You’ve been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
- You are subject to a firearms seizure order.
Location Restrictions for Carrying
It is unlawful to carry a handgun, even if you have a concealed carry permit, in the following locations:
- Federal buildings.
- South Carolina state capitol grounds or building.
- Federal prisons.
- Jails, prisons, correctional facilities, or detention facilities.
- Publicly owned buildings, unless you have permission from the authorities in charge of the building.
- Offices or at the business meetings of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special purpose district.
- Hospitals, medical clinics, doctor’s offices, or other facilities where medical services are provided.
- Indian reservations.
- Any passenger bus or other motor vehicle having a seating capacity of 10 or more passengers operated by a public transportation provider for the purpose of carrying passengers, including charter passengers.
- Post offices.
- Polling places on election days.
- Military bases.
- School grounds, including colleges and universities.
- School events not related to firearms.
- Child-care facilities.
- Places of worship.
- Anywhere you decide to consume alcohol. You cannot carry a firearm if you consume any alcohol.
- Passed the security checkpoint at airports.
Transporting a Handgun Through & Throughout SC
With a Concealed Carry Permit
If you have an SC or SC recognized concealed carry permit, you may transport a handgun in a vehicle while it is loaded and on your person.
Without a Concealed Carry Permit
If you do not possess an SC or SC recognized concealed carry permit, you can transport a loaded/unloaded handgun in your vehicle if you follow these guidelines:
- You must legally possess the firearm.
- The firearm must be secured in one of the following:
- A closed glove compartment
- A closed console
- A closed trunk
- A closed container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the luggage compartment of the vehicle.
Additional Notes About SC Handgun Law
Does SC Law Incorporate Stand Your Ground?
The Stand Your Ground law permits you to use force, and not retreat, when faced with a threat. Stand Your Ground protects your use of force, even deadly force, when used to protect yourself or others if you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death. To be protected under Stand Your Ground, you must be in a place where you have the lawful right to be.
Does SC Law Incorporate the Castle Doctrine?
The Castle Doctrine is similar to Stand Your Ground. The Castle Doctrine permits you to use force (even deadly force), and not retreat, when you’re in your own home. This again assumes you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death on yourself or others in your home.
This ‘castle’ is sometimes broadened to cover you when you’re in your yard, car, etc. Each state’s Castle Doctrine law is written differently – consult your state’s law to confirm if your state extends the meaning of a ‘castle’ to cover more than just your home.
Reciprocity – What State Permits Does SC Recognize?
SC recognizes the following states’ concealed carry permits, so long as the permit was issued to someone 21 years of age or older:
Read more about SC reciprocity here.
Reciprocity – Where is the SC Permit Recognized?
The SC concealed weapons permit is recognized in the following states: