Mount Pleasant Gun Lawyer

Owning a gun is a constitutional right but also a limited and highly regulated one at both the state and federal levels. South Carolina – like other states – attempts to balance the rights of lawful gun owners with the safety of the general public. Overall, South Carolina is a gun-friendly state that does not impose too many restrictions on an individual’s ability to purchase a firearm and carry it on their person in certain situations.

If you are currently facing prosecution for violating one or more state gun laws, then do not hesitate to contact a Mount Pleasant gun lawyer to begin exploring what options might be available to you. There is simply too much at stake when being charged with a serious crime for you to try to go it alone. A criminal defense attorney should be able to evaluate the strength of the evidence against you and recommend the best possible course of action, whether that is seeking a plea deal or contesting the charges in court.

State Handgun Laws

The definition of a handgun under state law is a firearm designed to be fired from the hand and expel a projectile. S.C. Code §16-23-10. Collectible guns, antique weapons, and any gun that does not fire a fixed cartridge are specifically excluded from this definition. Per S.C. Code §16-23-20, it unlawful to carry a handgun (concealed or not) except as it applies to the following individuals:

  • Law enforcement officers
  • Members of the armed services
  • Licensed hunters or fishermen while engaged in those activities
  • Members of civic organizations on parade
  • Those who deal in or repair firearms for a living
  • Anyone with a conceal carry permit

As any Mount Pleasant gun lawyer surely knows, there are two broad exceptions spelled out in S.C. Code §16-23-20 that allow someone who does not fit into any of the above categories to possess a handgun. The first is anyone who is in their home or business, while the second is anyone who is inside the home of another person who has authorized them to do so. One may also transport a handgun inside a vehicle but only of it is kept in a latched compartment (locked container) – such as in the trunk.

A Mount Pleasant gun lawyer may be hired to represent an individual who has been charged with violating S.C. Code §16-23-30, which defines who is not allowed to possess a handgun under any circumstances. It includes anyone who has been convicted of a violent crime, individuals under the age of 18, and those who have been found to be mentally incompetent.

Possible Defenses to a Gun Charge

In representing someone charged with a gun crime, a Mount Pleasant gun attorney may choose to put forth one or more of the following defenses, depending on the evidence:

Lack of Knowledge

One element of many gun crimes in South Carolina is knowingly possessing a firearm. If it can be shown that the defendant did not know they had a handgun in their possession, that could be enough to have the gun charge dropped.

Illegal Search and Seizure

The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures. If a handgun or other type of firearm was discovered during the course of a search that runs afoul of the Fourth Amendment, the so-called “exclusionary rule” could prevent the firearm from being used as evidence.

Failure to Provide Miranda Warning

Somewhat similarly, someone in police custody who provides incriminating information in the absence of a “Miranda” warning may be able to have that information excluded from the evidence on Fifth Amendment grounds.

Contact a Mount Pleasant Gun Attorney Today

Being charged with a gun crime in South Carolina is a very serious matter that could bring with it a whole host of penalties – including jail or prison time. It is important to remember, though, that the state must be able to prove every element of the crime you have been charged with beyond a reasonable doubt. Contact a Mount Pleasant gun lawyer today for information on how to best fight this charge.