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Legal Information: South Carolina

State Gun Laws

Updated: 
March 26, 2018

If the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?

South Carolina law makes it illegal for someone to have or buy any firearm or ammunition if s/he:

  1. was convicted in South Carolina (or of a similar crime in another state) of domestic violence in the first degree or domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature;
  2. was convicted in South Carolina of domestic violence in the second degree (or of a similar crime in another state) and the judge:
  3. was convicted in South Carolina of domestic violence in the third degree (or of a similar crime in another state) and at the time of sentencing, the judge:
    •  specifically ordered that the person is prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition.*

In addition, South Carolina state law says that a person cannot have or buy a handgun if s/he:

  • has been convicted of a "crime of violence" in any state or territory, which includes:
    • murder;
    • manslaughter (except negligent manslaughter arising out of traffic accidents);
    • rape;
    • mayhem;
    • kidnapping;
    • burglary;
    • robbery;
    • housebreaking;
    • assault with intent to kill, commit rape, or rob;
    • assault with a dangerous weapon; or 
    • assault with intent to commit any offense punishable by imprisonment for more than one year; or
  • is a fugitive from justice (someone who fled from any law enforcement officer to avoid prosecution or imprisonment for a crime of violence).**

Note: The prohibitions against having a firearm or ammunition, as explained in numbers 1 - 3, above, generally only last for a limited period of time.***  See If the abuser is prohibited from having a firearm or ammunition, how long does the prohibition last? for more information. 

Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict a person's right to have a gun under certain circumstances such as when the abuser has been convicted of a felony or certain domestic violence-related crimes.  Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

* S.C. Code § 16-25-30(A)
** S.C. Code §§ 16-23-30(A)(1) & (B); 16-23-10(3),(4)
*** S.C. Code § 16-25-30(E)