West Columbia Gun Lawyer

The U.S. Constitution safeguards a citizen’s choice to own a firearm. However, the right is not unlimited and there are multiple restrictions when you can carry a gun and the type of gun you can carry. If you violate any of these restrictions, you could face stiff penalties and lifelong consequences, including losing the right to own or carry a gun.

Stealing a gun or possessing a stolen gun are serious crimes. Committing a crime while in possession of a firearm or using one during the commission of a crime could also result in severe punishment.

If you have been arrested for a gun violation or are facing gun charges, it is wise to bring a criminal defense attorney on board as soon as possible. A West Columbia gun lawyer could help you respond to the prosecutors and might be able to limit the consequences you face or even get the charges dismissed.

Legally Carrying and Transporting Handguns

South Carolina does not require people to obtain permits to buy or possess rifles, shotguns, or handguns. Residents need a permit to carry a concealed weapon, and open carry is not allowed except for law enforcement and on-duty military personnel. A legal professional could help a gun owner determine whether they need a concealed weapon permit (CWP).

To secure a concealed weapon permit, an applicant must take a gun safety course, be 21 years of age or older, submit their fingerprints and a copy of their driver’s license, and pay a fee. Holders of concealed weapons permits may carry concealed weapons in their vehicles under the seat or in an open or sealed container in the passenger compartment.

Even concealed weapon permit holders may not carry weapons into certain places. These include law enforcement offices, detention centers, and courthouses, government offices, schools including daycare and preschools, hospitals, and medical offices. Permit holders may bring concealed weapons into dwellings with the occupant’s permission, and businesses unless they have posted a sign prohibiting concealed weapons. Permit holders may not bring their guns into restaurants that serve alcohol unless they do not consume alcohol.

Some People May Not Own or Possess Firearms

It is illegal in South Carolina for certain people to own or possess guns. It is unlawful for someone to knowingly sell, rent, give, or loan a gun to someone not legally entitled to own or possess a firearm. South Carolina Code §16-23-30 places these restrictions on the following categories of people:

  • Fugitives
  • Persons convicted of violent crimes
  • Substance Abusers
  • Adjudicated incompetents
  • Members of subversive organizations
  • Youth under age 18, except when the youth is participating in R.O.T.C. or being instructed by a parent or other qualified adult
  • Persons a judge deemed ineligible to own, use, or possess weapons

This is a felony statute. Upon conviction, an offender faces a prison sentence of up to five years, a fine of $2000, or both.

When a prosecutor charges someone with providing a firearm to a person who is not allowed to have a gun, the prosecutor must prove that the offender knowingly violated the law beyond a reasonable doubt. This provides an opportunity for a defense attorney to present evidence showing that the accused was not aware that the recipient fell into one of the ineligible categories.

Ban on Certain Firearms

The law restricts machine guns, military firearms, sawed-off shotguns, and sawed-off rifles. Residents of the Palmetto State may not own, use, store, sell, receive, or transport such weapons. The prohibitions do not apply to military personnel, peace officers, or correctional system employees while they are working with or transporting prisoners.

The ban does not apply to antique firearms or firearms that are not usable and are kept for display or as relics. An attorney could determine whether a specific firearm is legal to possess in West Columbia.

Contact a West Columbia Attorney for Help

The laws governing firearm ownership, sale, and use are complicated, and it is not difficult for a person to break the law inadvertently. If this has happened to you, you need skillful counsel to help minimize the consequences.

Committing a crime while armed enhances the potential penalty of even a lesser criminal offense. Felony convictions and prison sentences are common in these cases, but a savvy criminal defense attorney could present evidence that might result in reduced or possibly even dismissed charges.

If you face charges related to a firearm, get a West Columbia gun lawyer working for you. Contact the office right away to discuss your case with an experienced legal professional.