South Carolina open carry is now legal. Governor Henry McMaster signed into law Monday May 17th 2021 legislation that will allow a concealed weapons permit holder to carry their firearm openly while in public, legislation hailed by supporters of the Second Amendment.
“Today, I signed the Open Carry with Training Act into law!” McMaster tweeted. “I will proudly support any legislation that protects or enhances a South Carolinian’s ability to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights, and that’s exactly what this bill does.” South Carolina now joins 45 other states that have some type of open carry law already in place.
But permitted gun owners can’t openly carry their weapons in the state’s 46 counties just yet. Despite the governor’s signature, the law will not take effect until 90 days from May 17 (or Aug. 16) a key provision added by state senators to give the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and police agencies more time to educate police and the public on the new law.
The new law allows only South Carolinians with training and concealed weapons permits to carry their firearms openly. Firearms are still prohibited on State House grounds and in businesses and buildings where signage states firearms worn concealed or openly are not allowed. Guns also are prohibited on school grounds when students are in school or involved in extracurricular activities on the grounds. 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. SLED has issued more than 582,000 concealed weapons permits in the state, and now under the new law, South Carolinians will no longer have to pay the $50 permit fee. Lawmakers also narrowed the court’s window to five days to ensure magistrate clerks send pertinent records of legal actions that would bar someone from owning a gun to SLED. South Carolina already recognizes out-of-state concealed weapons permit holders in more than a dozen states, and it allows gun owners with concealed weapons permits to carry inside restaurants and bars. The law does not allow a gun owner to drink and carry.
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