SC’s open carry law changes Aug. 15. Here’s what gun owners need to know

·3 min read

A newly-passed state law that will allow those with concealed carry permits to carry their firearms openly in South Carolina will go into effect Aug. 15, the State Law Enforcement Division said in a press release Tuesday afternoon.

With that new law come a few changes that gun owners should be aware of, SLED officials wrote.

For those seeking a concealed weapons permit or seeking to renew or replace one they already had, the new law waives the application fee. SLED will return any money orders attached to applications that are postmarked on or after Aug. 15.

However, if an application is postmarked before Aug. 15, SLED must require and accept fee payment.

“As these fees are set by law, SLED cannot waive them,” according to the statement from SLED.

Additionally, all concealed weapons permit applications postmarked or received on or after Aug. 15 must come with “proof of training,” according to the SLED statement.

That proof of training will consist of an “original document or certified copy of the document” given to an applicant certifying they have completed a basic or advanced handgun education course offered by law enforcement or a nationally recognized organization that promotes gun safety within the last three years. That course must include information on statutory and case law in South Carolina relating to handguns and use of deadly force, information on handgun use and safety, information on proper storage practices, the actual firing of at least 25 rounds with an instructor, properly securing a firearm in a holster, “cocked and locked” carrying, how to respond to a person who tries to take your firearm from you and de-escalation techniques and strategies.

No additional training will be required for applicants whose documents are received or postmarked before Aug. 15. Nor will it be required for existing permit holders or those seeking renewals or replacements.

The concealed carry with a permit bill was signed into law by S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster on May 17. It had a 90 day implementation period, meaning it would not go into affect until Aug. 15.

The delay was added into the bill by senators, who said it would give law enforcement the time to educate the police and public on the new law.

The bill was highly criticized by law enforcement and medical professionals as it moved through the legislature earlier this year.

There were attempts to remove the permit requirement from the bill entirely, but those were soundly rejected multiple times.

Guns are still wholly prohibited from being carries on the State House grounds and in businesses and buildings where signage states either concealed or open firearms are not allowed. Guns are also prohibited from school grounds when students are in class or involved in extracurricular activities. However, the law allows concealed or open carrying on school grounds when a church leases areas within the school for a church service or official church activity and students are not present.

The law also gives cities and counties the ability to temporarily restrict open carrying during permitted events that could include public protests, rallies, parades, festivals, fairs and other organized events. Signs must be posted around the event so the public knows.

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