While South Carolina recognizes the Second Amendment rights of its residents, there are certain situations in which a weapon is illegal or when it is unlawful for a person to possess a firearm. Understanding what is prohibited might help people in the state avoid potential charges for weapons offenses. Charges involving weapons can result in severe criminal penalties.
Types of illegal firearms
The following types of firearms and ammunition are illegal for people to possess in South Carolina:
- Sawed-off shotguns
- Machine guns
- Sawed-off rifles
- Military firearms
- Ammunition with a Teflon coating
When it is illegal to possess a firearm
Even when a firearm is not an illegal weapon, specific categories of people are prohibited from owning or possessing guns. People who have been convicted of violent felony offenses are prohibited from carrying or possessing firearms or ammunition. If they do, they can be charged with weapon offenses. Others who are prohibited from possessing handguns include people who have been adjudged by a court to be incompetent to carry weapons, those who are habitual drunks, those who are addicted to drugs, and those who are fugitives from justice.
People who are not prohibited from carrying or possessing guns and have legal firearms are not allowed to conceal carry them without a permit with a few exceptions. Only those who have a concealed carry permit are allowed to openly carry firearms in the state. Finally, people who carry illegal firearms on or near school grounds can also face criminal charges. People who are charged with weapons offenses in South Carolina might face misdemeanor or felony charges, depending on the particular violation. The potential penalties can range from a maximum of one to a maximum of 10 years, depending on the particular offense. Because of the potential penalties, asserting a strong defense against weapons charges is critical.