Constitutional Carry/ 2024 Gun Law Changes in South Carolina – Unlawful Carry Expungements

South Carolina passed a “constitutional carry” law, H. 3594, that went into effect on March 7, 2024, and it includes provisions for unlawful carry expungements – old convictions or convictions under the new law.

This is a major change to SC expungement laws as well as SC gun laws. Below, I’ll cover what you need to know about SC’s new constitutional carry law, including:

  • When you can get an expungement for an unlawful carry conviction in SC,
  • Where you can carry a concealed firearm in SC under the new constitutional carry law, and
  • Where you cannot carry a gun under the new law.

Can I Get an Unlawful Carry Conviction Expunged in SC?

Under SC’s old expungement laws, there was no provision for expungement of firearm offenses. Under the constitutional carry law, that has changed – for older convictions and new convictions.

Unlawful Carry Expungements for Prior Convictions

You can carry a gun – concealed or openly – just about anywhere now. But what if you were previously convicted for the exact thing they have now made legal?

Under the constitutional carry law, SC Code § 22-5-910 is amended to allow expungement of a prior conviction for unlawful carry (“a first offense for unlawful possession of a firearm or weapon carrying a penalty of not more than one year or a fine of one thousand dollars, or both”), but you only have five years to do it.

You must apply for the expungement of an unlawful carry conviction within five years of the date the constitutional carry law was enacted (March 7, 2029, is the deadline).

Unlawful Carry Expungements for New Convictions

If you are convicted of unlawful possession under the new law (“a first offense for unlawful possession of a firearm or weapon carrying a penalty of not more than one year or a fine of one thousand dollars, or both”), you can get the conviction expunged three years after the conviction date.

Other Changes to SC Gun Laws in the Constitutional Carry Bill

What else was changed by the constitutional carry law?

The most significant change is that, if you are not otherwise prohibited due to prior convictions or another reason, you can now carry a gun in any location not prohibited under the law, whether your gun is concealed or openly carried, and without a concealed weapon permit or any training requirements.

Where Can You Carry a Gun in SC

You can carry your firearm just about anywhere and in any way that you want under SC’s 2024 constitutional carry gun law amendments.

You can carry a gun on your belt, tucked in your waistband, in your pocket, hidden in your purse, or anywhere you like.

Where Can You Not Carry a Gun in SC

You can not carry a gun into the places that are prohibited by the law, including:

(1) law enforcement, correctional, or detention facility;

(2) courthouse, courtroom, or other publicly owned building, whether owned by the State, a county, a municipality, or other political subdivision, where court is held and during the time that court is in session;

(3) polling place on election days;

(4) office of or business meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special purpose district;

(5) school or college athletic event not related to firearms;

(6) daycare facility or preschool facility;

(7) place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law;

(8) church or other established religious sanctuary unless express permission is given by the appropriate church official or governing body;

(9) hospital, medical clinic, doctor’s office, or any other facility where medical services or procedures are performed, unless expressly authorized by the appropriate entity;

(10) residence or dwelling place of another person without the express permission of the owner or person in legal control or possession of the residence or dwelling place, as appropriate; or

(11) place clearly marked with a sign prohibiting the carrying of a concealable weapon on the premises in compliance with Section 23-31-235. A person who violates a provision of this item, whether the violation is wilful or not, only may be charged with a violation of Section 16-11-620 and must not be charged with or penalized for a violation of this subsection.

As with the old gun laws, there are exceptions including law enforcement officers, corrections officers, and military personnel when on duty.

Where Do You Put Your Gun in the Car in SC

Unless you are “on any premises or property owned, operated, or controlled by a private or public school, college, university, technical college, other post-secondary institution, or in any publicly owned building,” you can store your gun anywhere you like in your car.

You can carry it in your pocket, put it under your seat, or put it out in the open like on the dashboard or a seat. If you are pulled over by law enforcement, you do not have to tell them there is a firearm (under the old concealed weapon permit law, you were required to inform law enforcement if you had a gun).

If you are on school property, the rules are the same as they used to be for vehicles everywhere – any firearms must be “secured in a closed glove compartment, closed console, closed trunk, or in a closed container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the luggage compartment of the vehicle.”

State and Federal Firearms Lawyer in Charleston, SC

Grant B. Smaldone is a state and federal criminal defense attorney in Charleston, SC who focuses his practice on criminal defense cases including firearms charges in all courts.

We also help our clients to get convictions expunged and clean up their criminal records. If you believe you may be eligible for an expungement of an unlawful carry or any other conviction, give us a call.

Call now at (843) 808-2100 or use our contact form online to talk to a SC criminal defense lawyer today.