MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — South Carolina’s new open carry law went into effect this weekend after being signed by Gov. Henry McMaster back in May.
Here’s what you need to know about the new law, and what you can and can’t do.
When does the open carry law go into effect?
The new open carry law went into effect Aug. 15, 2021.
What does the open carry law allow?
The new law makes South Carolina a Second Amendment sanctuary state. It will also allow concealed weapons permit (CWP) holders to openly carry a concealable weapon on them or in their vehicle. The law also eliminates the $50 fee for a CWP.
What kind of gun can I open carry?
According to text of the bill, any gun “having a length of less than 12 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.”
Are there still places where I can’t carry?
Yes. According to the bill, a public or private employer can still prohibit people from carrying on the property of the business or workplace, or while using property owned by the business, such as machinery, a vehicle, or equipment. Private property owners may also prohibit the carrying of weapons on their property.
A person who violates any “no concealable weapons allowed” sign will be charged with “entering premises after warning or refusing to leave on request,” according to the bill. A second violation would result in the permit holder’s CWP being suspended for one year.
Weapons also may not be carried at schools.
If my business wants to prohibit open carry, what do I need to do?
According to the bill, any business or property owner who wishes to prohibit carrying on their property must post a sign that meets the following criteria:
- Signs must be posted at each entrance in written language and universal sign language
- Signs must be clearly visible from outside of the building
- Signs must be 8 inches wide by 12 inches tall
- Signs must have the words “NO CONCEALABLE WEAPONS ALLOWED” in black, one-inch tall uppercase type at the bottom of the sign centered between the edges of the sign
- Signs must contain a black silhouette of a handgun inside a circle 7 inches in diameter with a diagonal line that runs from the lower left to upper right at a 45-degree angle
- Signs must be placed not less than 40 inches and not more than 60 inches from the bottom of an entrance door
- If the premise does not have doors:
- Signs must be 36 inches wide by 48 inches tall
- Signs must be placed not less than 40 inches and not more than 96 inches from the ground
- Signs must contain a silhouette image of a handgun inside a circle 34 inches in diameter with a 2-inch diagonal line at a 45-degree angle and contain the words “NO CONCEALABLE WEAPONS ALLOWED” in 3-inch tall black uppercase letters centered between the edges of the sign
- Signs must be posted frequently to be visible from any point of entry onto the property
Is there extra training needed to open carry?
According to the bill, a person applying for a CWP must have completed a basic or advanced handgun training course within three years of applying for the permit, according to the bill. The course must include information on statutory and case law relating to handguns and deadly force, information on handgun use and safety, information on proper storage practices with an emphasis on preventing injury to children, actual firing of the handgun with an instructor present with a minimum of 25 rounds fired, information on properly security a handgun in a holster, “cocked and locked” carrying of a firearm, how to respond to someone who tries to take your gun from its holster, and de-escalation techniques.
Can the open carry law be restricted?
Yes. According to the bill, the government of a county or municipality or other political subdivision can temporarily restrict open carry of a firearm on public property if the governing body issues a permit for a public protest, rally, fair, parade, festival, or any other organized event. If a permit is not applied for, then the government can’t restrict the open carry of firearms.
A governing body putting a restriction on open carry needs to give a specific area, duration, and manner for the restriction and provide prior notice of the restriction, according to the bill. The restriction may also not be extended past the start and end of the event, and an event can’t be scheduled for a length of time to abuse this part of the law.
A county, municipality, or political subdivision can’t confiscate a weapon or ammo for a violation of section 23-31-520 unless it’s related to an otherwise lawful arrest, according to the bill.
Where can I view the full text of the bill?
The full text of the bill can be found on the South Carolina Statehouse Website by clicking here.