South Carolina has very weak gun laws, earning an F in our Annual Gun Law Scorecard. Due to gaps in state law, minors can legally purchase assault weapons from private sellers in South Carolina with no parental oversight or background check. In 2017, South Carolina had the 12th-highest gun death rate in the country and exported crime guns at the seventh-highest rate. To save lives from gun violence, South Carolina could fund community violence intervention programs and require a background check before every gun purchase.
State Law Background
South Carolina law does not:
- Require a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between unlicensed individuals;
- Regulate the transfer or possession of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles or large capacity ammunition magazines;
- Require firearm owners to obtain a license, register their firearms, or report lost or stolen firearms;
- Impose a waiting period prior to purchase of a firearm;
- Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time;
- Significantly regulate ammunition sales;
- Allow local governments to regulate firearms or ammunition; or
- Give law enforcement discretion to deny a concealed handgun permit.
In addition, due to a law enacted in 2012, South Carolina no longer:
- Requires retail firearms dealers selling handguns to obtain a state license; or
- Imposes a melting point test, a form of design safety standard, for handguns.
However, South Carolina did enact a law in 2013 that requires the reporting of some mental health information to the federal database used for firearm purchaser background checks. South Carolina also enacted a law in 2015 that prohibits gun possession by certain domestic abusers.
In 2017, South Carolina had the 12th highest gun death rate among the states. South Carolina also supplied crime guns to other states at the 7th highest rate among the states. South Carolina exported crime guns at more than twice the national rate and at twice the rate that it imported crime guns.
South Carolina Firearms Laws
For details about specific firearms laws in South Carolina, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.