As of August 15, 2021, South Carolina allows individuals with valid concealed carry permits to carry open in most places where they were previously only allowed to carry concealed. Despite this newfound freedom, there are still several restrictions codified under state law regarding who can carry firearms and where they can carry them in public. Violating any of the state’s gun laws could have serious criminal consequences.
If you are facing charges for any kind of gun-related crime, seeking help from a skilled criminal defense attorney could be critical to preserving your rights now and in the future. Whether your offense is considered a misdemeanor or a felony, a Greenville gun lawyer could work tirelessly to pursue the best possible resolution to your unique situation.
How State Law Governs Handgun Possession
Prior to the passage of the Open Carry with Training Act in May 2021, South Carolina prohibited all residents from open carrying handguns in public places. Even with this new provision in place, South Carolina Code of Laws §16-23-20 prohibits anyone without a concealed carry permit from carrying a handgun, openly or concealed, outside of their home or place of business unless they fit into one of the following categories:
- Law enforcement officers, including prison guards
- Firearms manufacturers, dealers, and/or repair shop operators
- Licensed hunters and fishermen who are either actively hunting or fishing, or traveling to a place where they will hunt or fish
- State or federally authorized organizations for purchasing, receiving, and/or collecting firearms, such as shooting clubs
- On-duty Armed Forces personnel, as well as Armed Forces and/or civil organization members traveling to organization-related meetings or participating in a parade
- Individuals transporting packaged and unloaded firearms from their purchasing place or between properties they own
- Customers at firearms-related businesses that have not posted signage prohibiting permitted concealed carry on their property
No permit is necessary to carry a handgun in a motor vehicle so long as the firearm is stored and secured in a closed compartment inside or attached to the vehicle. An experienced Greenville attorney could explain regulations and restrictions on firearms possession in more detail during an initial consultation.
Consequences of a Gun-Related Criminal Conviction
According to S.C. Code §16-23-50, it is a misdemeanor offense to unlawfully carry a handgun in violation of S.C. Code §16-23-20. Individuals convicted of this offense could face up to one year of incarceration as well as a $1,000 maximum fine. Knowingly selling, delivering, or otherwise providing a firearm to someone who is prohibited from possessing firearms under state or federal law is a more serious felony offense. A conviction for this offense could lead to a maximum sentence of five years in prison and $2,000 in fines.
It is also worth noting that the presence or use of a firearm during the commission of another criminal offense is often considered an aggravating factor. Having a firearm while allegedly committing another crime could result in substantially harsher sentences upon conviction for the underlying offense. Representation from an experienced gun defense lawyer in Greenville can be especially crucial during cases of this nature.
Talk to a Greenville Gun Attorney Today
While South Carolina is fairly lax compared to other states about restrictions on gun ownership and possession, there are still laws that limit the rights of firearm owners. Violating gun laws can lead to significant repercussions in criminal court, which could affect your livelihood and many aspects of your future.
If you are facing charges for gun offenses, you do not have to take on your case alone. Attorney Christopher L. Jones could provide the help you need to effectively protect your rights and interests. Call today to learn more about what a seasoned Greenville gun lawyer could do for you.