Richland County Gun Lawyer

South Carolina gun convictions can result in paying fines; serving years in prison; being subject to probation; and having a criminal record which can affect your ability to secure employment, rent an apartment, and receive financial aid.

If you have been charged with a gun violation in South Carolina, contact an experienced Richland County gun lawyer at our firm who can review the charges against you, determine what legal defenses might apply to your situation. Let a dedicated defense lawyer help protect your Second Amendment rights.

South Carolina Gun Laws

South Carolina has numerous guns laws which can vary depending on the type of gun at issue. For example, South Carolina does not require rifle, shotgun, or handgun owners to get a permit to purchase, register, or license. While owners do not need a permit to carry a rifle or shotgun, they do need a permit to carry a handgun.

It is important to understand the definitions of what constitutes a handgun, the meaning of “about the person,” and what concealed weapons are as those will be used to prosecute gun crimes.

Under South Carolina Code of Laws § 16-23-20, a handgun is “any firearm designed to expel a projectile and designed to be fired from the hand, but does not include any firearm generally recognized or classified as an antique, curiosity, or collector’s item, or any that does not fire fixed cartridges.” Essentially, that can be any type of gun which is not one of the specific exceptions listed.

Distinguising About the Person Regulations

It is generally unlawful to carry a handgun “about the person” – regardless of whether it is concealed or not. There are several exceptions for law enforcement officers and keeping the handgun in a vehicle in either a closed glove compartment, closed console, closed trunk, or closed container in the luggage compartment in the rear of a vehicle.

“About the person” means to have the handgun anywhere where it is readily accessible and convenient for immediate use, regardless of whether it touches the person. Richland gun laws forbid gun owners from carrying a firearm onto private or public-school property or into any publicly owned building without permission.

Concealed Weapons Laws in Richland

According to S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31-210, a concealed weapon means a firearm having a length of less than twelve inches measured along its greatest dimension that must be carried 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.

Unlawful Carrying of Handgun in a Vehicle

It is unlawful for anyone to carry about the person any handgun, whether concealed or not, except when a person in a vehicle if the handgun in two situations.

First, secured in a closed glove compartment, closed console, closed trunk, or in a closed container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the luggage compartment of the vehicle. However, this item is not violated if the glove compartment, console, or trunk is opened in the presence of a law enforcement officer for the sole purpose of retrieving a driver’s license, registration, or proof of insurance.

If the person has been issued a concealed weapon permit pursuant, then the person also may secure their weapon under a seat in a vehicle, or in any open or closed storage compartment within the vehicle’s passenger compartment.

Second, concealed on or about someone’s person, and they have a valid concealed weapons permit.

Penalties for Gun Offenses

Gun violation penalties are harsh under both South Carolina and federal law. In South Carolina, anyone who carries a handgun without a concealed carrying license is subject to paying fines of up to $10,000, serving up to 10 years in prison, or both.

Those who carry a firearm onto school premises, in law enforcement offices or facilities, in court facilities, at polling places on election days, in churches or other religious sanctuaries, or in hospitals or medical facilities are subject to paying fines of at least $1,000, serving up to one year in jail, or both.

On the federal level, anyone who commits – or attempts to commit – assault with intent to kill, arson, armed robbery, burglary, drug trafficking, murder, voluntary manslaughter, kidnapping, or criminal sexual conduct while possessing or displaying a firearm (or what appears to be a firearm) will be forced to serve a mandatory of five years in prison.

Let a Richland County Gun Attorney Protect Your Rights

If you have been charged with a gun violation in South Carolina, do not hesitate to contact an experienced Richland County gun lawyer to protect your rights. A gun attorney can examine every aspect of your case and advise you of your best legal options going forward.