SC’s new open carry law was signed by the governor in May and went into effect Sunday, August 15, 2021, making SC a Second Amendment sanctuary state.
What changes were made in the new law?
Below, we’ll discuss what you need to know about the “Open Carry with Training Act,” including what you can and can’t do:
- What the new open carry law allows,
- When open carry can be restricted by the government or businesses,
- Required education for open carry in SC,
- Open carry at church services on school property, and
- Safeguards that were enacted to protect South Carolinians’ Second Amendment rights.
Open Carry Laws in SC
The Open Carry with Training Act makes changes to existing SC gun laws, including 1) allowing concealed carry permit (CWP) holders to open carry and 2) providing for situations where government or businesses can prohibit open carry.
What Does SC’s New Open Carry Law Allow?
The new law allows CWP holders to openly carry a concealable weapon in most locations where they were previously allowed to carry a concealed weapon.
SC Code Section 23-31-210 defines a “concealable weapon” as:
…a firearm having a length of less than twelve inches measured along its greatest dimension that may be carried openly on one’s person or in a manner that is hidden from public view in normal wear of clothing except when needed for self defense, defense of others, and the protection of real or personal property.”
The new law allows for open carry in a vehicle.
Section 16-23-20(9) says that, if the person has a CWP, they can:
- Secure their weapon under a seat in the vehicle,
- Secure the weapon in any open or closed storage compartment, or
- Carry the weapon openly or concealed on or about their person.
The new law allows for open carry during church services or activities on school property.
Section 23-31-232 (not added to the online code yet) will allow CWP holders to “carry a concealable weapon, whether concealed or openly carried, on the leased premises of an elementary or secondary school if a church leases the school premises or areas within the school for church services or official church activities.”
Restrictions on Open Carry in SC
Businesses: CWP holders can openly carry in businesses, but Section 23-31-220 allows businesses to prohibit concealable weapons by placing a sign that says, “No Concealable Weapons Allowed.”
Carrying a concealable weapon into a business with a sign posted is still a crime.
Residences: Section 23-31-225 still provides that a CWP holder must have the permission of the owner or the person in legal possession of a residence before carrying a concealable weapon on their property.
Signs: Section 23-31-235 provides specific requirements for signs prohibiting open carry. Signs must be posted at the entrance of each building and must be:
(1) clearly visible from outside the building;
(2) eight inches wide by twelve inches tall in size;
(3) 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;
(4) 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;
(5) a diameter of a circle; and
(6) placed not less than forty inches and not more than sixty inches from the bottom of the building’s entrance door.
If there is no door to the premises, the signs must be:
(1) thirty-six inches wide by forty-eight inches tall in size;
(2) contain the words “NO CONCEALABLE WEAPONS ALLOWED” in black three- inch tall uppercase type at the bottom of the sign and centered between the lateral edges of the sign;
(3) contain a black silhouette of a handgun inside a circle thirty-four inches in diameter with a diagonal line that is two inches wide and runs from the lower left to the upper right at a forty-five degree angle from the horizontal and must be a diameter of a circle whose circumference is two inches wide;
(4) placed not less than forty inches and not more than ninety-six inches above the ground;
(5) posted in sufficient quantities to be clearly visible from any point of entry onto the premises.
The Open Carry with Training Act also amends SC Code Section 23-31-520 to allow municipalities to restrict open carry at public protests, rallies, fairs, parades, festivals, or other organized events if a permit is applied for and issued.
If a permit is not applied for and issued, the government cannot restrict open carry at the event, but the person or entity hosting the event can post signs prohibiting open carry.
Other Provisions in SC’s New Open Carry Law
A handgun education course must be completed within three years before applying for a permit, and the Open Carry with Training Act adds a few training requirements to SC Code Section 23-31-210(4). The course must include:
(i) information on the statutory and case law of this State relating to handguns and to the use of deadly force;
(ii) information on handgun use and safety;
(iii) information on the proper storage practice for handguns with an emphasis on storage practices that reduces the possibility of accidental injury to a child;
(iv) the actual firing of the handgun in the presence of the instructor, provided that a minimum of twenty-five rounds must be fired;
(v) properly securing a firearm in a holster;
(vi) ‘cocked and locked’ carrying of a firearm;
(vii) how to respond to a person who attempts to take your firearm from your holster; and
(viii) deescalation techniques and strategies.”
Evaluation by Attorney General
The Open Carry with Training Act creates SC Code Section 23-31-250 (not added to online code yet) which states:
- The State of SC “cannot be compelled by the federal government to take any legislative or executive action to implement or enforce a federal law, treaty, executive order, rule, or regulation related to an individual’s right to keep and bear arms enshrined in the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution that limits or proscribes carrying concealable weapons, whether concealed or openly carried, as provided in this chapter,” and
- The Attorney General must evaluate “[a]ny federal law, treaty, executive order, rule, or regulation related to limiting or proscribing the carry of concealable weapons” and issue a written opinion as to whether the law would violate subsection (A).
If the law violates subsection (A), then no funds will be spent, no personnel or property will be used, and no official of the State of SC will implement or enforce the federal law.
Reporting to SLED
SC Code Section 14-17-325 is amended to provide that all clerks of court for General Sessions will report the disposition of cases to SLED within five days instead of the previous 30 days, as well as the “issuance, rescission, or termination of:
- criminal indictments,
- permanent restraining orders,
- orders of firearm prohibition pursuant to Section 16-25-30, and
- other restraining orders, orders of protection, or other orders that prohibit a person from legally purchasing or possessing a firearm, but only upon being directed to transmit such orders by the appropriate judge…
Sections 22-1-200 and 14-25-250 are also amended to require magistrates and municipal judges to report the disposition of cases to SLED within five days, as well as the “issuance, rescission, or termination of:
- restraining orders and emergency restraining orders;
- magistrate [or municipal] court orders of protection from domestic abuse act orders;
- orders of state firearms prohibition pursuant to Section 16-25-30; and
- any other restraining orders, orders of protection, or other orders that prohibit a person from legally purchasing or possessing a firearm, but only upon being directed to transmit such orders by the appropriate [judge]…
Gun Rights Attorneys in Myrtle Beach, SC
The Myrtle Beach gun rights lawyers at Coastal Law defend our clients against all types of criminal accusations, including firearms offenses, and we are working to protect the Second Amendment rights of South Carolinians.