On May 17, 2021, Governor Henry McMaster signed into law the South Carolina Open Carry with Training Act. Significantly, this act doesn’t allow just anyone to openly carry a handgun in South Carolina. Rather, what it really does is change the manner in which a person who has received training appropriate to obtain a concealed weapons permit in South Carolina or who has a concealed weapons permit recognized in South Carolina can carry that weapon.
The primary changes, which are allowed on and after August 15, 2021, allows a qualified person to openly carry a firearm on his or her person. A permit holder also will be allowed to store a handgun under the seat of a vehicle he or she is operating or to store the handgun in an open or closed compartment within the passenger compartment of the vehicle. Previously, storing a handgun under a car seat, even with a concealed weapons permit, would not have been allowed and would have resulted in at least a misdemeanor firearms charge. Likewise, the weapon previously could only be stored in a closed console or glove compartment. After this law takes effect, a handgun possessed by a concealed weapons permit holder can be stored in any open or closed compartment in a vehicle.
Interestingly, the law does not appear to allow the placement of handgun on the passenger seat. The handgun can, however, be carried openly on the person of a permit holding occupants of a vehicle or in an open console. Why the legislature allows a handgun in an open console, or openly on a permitted occupant but not laying openly on a passenger seat is unclear.
The law also has changed the requirements for training to include all those previously required for a concealed weapons permit to now also include training for (i) properly securing a handgun in a holster, (ii) ‘cocked and locked’ carrying of a firearm, (iii) how to respond to a person who attempts to take your firearm from your holster; and (iv) de-escalation techniques and strategies. There does not appear to be a requirement that a current concealed weapons permit holder return for additional training provided his or her concealed weapons permit is valid.
A large part of the new open carry with training law is dedicated to making clear where one CANNOT open carry. These include many of the same places a concealed weapon could not be carried by a concealed weapons permit holder – including public or private property where the owner or possessor of property prohibits the same or on school property or at church, unless the school or church has given expressed permission.
Moorhead LeFevre has lawyers that are experienced in dealing with concealed weapons permit issues and open carry with training issues.
Please contact ML Lawyers, located in Anderson, SC to schedule a free initial consultation at 864.225.9155