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South Carolina CWP Frequently Asked Questions

      This page is designed to help answer the most common questions about the SC Concealed Weapons Permit program. Please note that while I have made every reasonable effort to insure that the information on this page is accurate at the time of writing, I am not an attorney and do not provide legal advice. This information is presented as it is understood by myself and/or as it has been explained by the SC State Law Enforcement Division. Also be aware that laws do change at all levels of government. It is your responsibility to confirm any information that may affect you.

Who may apply for a SC CWP?
A law abiding citizen who is at least 21 years of age and may legally own a handgun, (no indictments or convictions for a felony, no addiction to a controlled substance, etc.), is a resident of South Carolina or "qualified non-resident", and has completed a Certification Course of at least eight hours may apply for a SC CWP.

What is the process for obaining a SC CWP?
A person who wishes to obtain a SC CWP must submit the following items:
  • A signed application
  • Proof of training within the past 3 years
  • Two fingerprint cards
  • A copy of the applicant's driver's license
  • A $50 application fee (except disabled veterans and retired law enforcement officers)
As part of the SC CWP class, all of the above items are completed during the training course. We strive to make the application process as simple as possible.
How do I renew my SC CWP?
CWP holders may renew online as much as 90 days before expiration at : https://www.sled.state.sc.us/sled/default.asp?Category=CWPR&Service=CWPR
Some restrictions do apply to online renewals. You must renew by mail if these or other restrictions apply:

  • Your permit expired in excess of 60 days.
  • Arrested or charged with an offense for which you plead guilty; were found guilty, paid a fine, forfeited bond, were placed in jail or placed on probation since your last CWP Application.
Renewal application forms may be found at http://www.sled.sc.gov/documents/CWPApplicationForm.pdf and be mailed to SLED.
What do I do if I lose my CWP card or change my address?
Print the Duplicate/Replacement form and follow the instructions. If you are changing your address, your current CWP is valid until the new card arrives, at which time you should return the old card to SLED. If your CWP card is lost or stolen, note that you MAY NOT carry a concealed weapon without a valid CWP card in your possession.

Where can I carry a handgun?
A SC CWP allows the permit holder to carry a concealed handgun in most public places. Concealed carry is prohibitted in some locations by law. Some of the places that are off-limits are:
  • Schools
  • Publicly owned buildings including courthouses and libraries
  • Hospitals and doctor's offices without express permission
  • Churches and other religious sanctuaries without express permission
  • A place licensed to sell alcohol for on-premise consumption
  • The residence of another person without permission
  • Places prohibitted by federal law
  • A place posted with the proper sign(s)

Is my SC CWP valid nationwide or only in South Carolina?
Neither is entirely true. While the permit is not recognized nationally, there are many states that do recognize it. From SC SLED's website:


As of September 12, 2008, states with which South Carolina has reciprocity are:

Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

Residents of reciprocal states who hold permits issued by their states of residence may carry concealed firearms in South Carolina, but must abide by the restrictions in the South Carolina CWP law. For that reason, out of state residents of reciprocal states should familiarize themselves with restricted carry locations and other provisions of South Carolina law posted on this website. South Carolina permittees who carry firearms in reciprocal states are likewise responsible for familiarizing themselves with the applicable laws and regulations of the reciprocal state. Web sites of those states may be accessed by selecting the desired state name listed above.

Reciprocity is established by agreement between two states. In addition there are states that honor a SC CWP even though there is no formal agreement. Using www.handgunlaw.us, we find the following states honor a SC CWP.

IdahoIndiana, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont

Of note, Alaska and Vermont do not require a permit to carry a handgun openly or concealed.

When is deadly force justified?

In general terms, the use of deadly force may only be used as a last resort in order to protect an innocent human life. Case law establishes four elements of self-defense in South Carolina. These are:
  • you must be without fault in bringing on the difficulty;
  • you must actually believe you are in imminent danger of loss of life or serious bodily injury or actually be in such danger;
  •  if you believe you are in such danger, you must use deadly force only if a reasonable or prudent man of ordinary firmness and courage would have believed himself to be in such danger, or, if you actually were in such danger, the circumstances were such as would warrant a man of ordinary prudence, firmness and courage to strike the fatal blow in order to save yourself from serious bodily harm or losing your own life;
  •  you had no other probable means of avoiding the danger of losing your own life or sustaining serious bodily injury than to act as you did in the particular instance.
South Carolina law allows a person to defend "any friend, relative, or bystander", but by defending another person, you are deemed to "stand in the shoes" of that person. If that person would be justified in using deadly force, you are justified in using that force. If the person would not have been justified, you become criminally liable.

Remember! All laws are subject to interpretation in a court. If accused, your fate may lie in the hands of twelve people who weren't smart enough to avoid jury duty.

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