SECTION 23-31-215. Issuance of permits.
(A) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, except subject to subsection (B) of this section, SLED must issue a permit, which is no larger than three and one-half inches by three inches in size, to carry a concealable weapon to a resident or qualified nonresident who is at least twenty-one years of age and who is not prohibited by state law from possessing the weapon upon submission of:
(1) a completed application signed by the person;
(2) one current full face color photograph of the person, not smaller than one inch by one inch nor larger than three inches by five inches;
(3) proof of residence or if the person is a qualified nonresident, proof of ownership of real property in this State;
(4) proof of actual or corrected vision rated at 20/40 within six months of the date of application or, in the case of a person licensed to operate a motor vehicle in this State, presentation of a valid driver’s license;
(5) proof of training;
(6) payment of a fifty-dollar application fee. This fee must be waived for disabled veterans and retired law enforcement officers; and
(7) a complete set of fingerprints unless, because of a medical condition verified in writing by a licensed medical doctor, a complete set of fingerprints is impossible to submit. In lieu of the submission of fingerprints, the applicant must submit the written statement from a licensed medical doctor specifying the reason or reasons why the applicant’s fingerprints may not be taken. If all other qualifications are met, the Chief of SLED may waive the fingerprint requirements of this item. The statement of medical limitation must be attached to the copy of the application retained by SLED. A law enforcement agency may charge a fee not to exceed five dollars for fingerprinting an applicant.
(B) Upon submission of the items required by subsection (A) of this section, SLED must conduct or facilitate a local, state, and federal fingerprint review of the applicant. SLED must also conduct a background check of the applicant through notification to and input from the sheriff of the county where the applicant resides or if the applicant is a qualified nonresident, where the applicant owns real property in this State. The sheriff within ten working days after notification by SLED, must submit a recommendation on an application. Before making a determination whether or not to issue a permit under this article, SLED must consider the recommendation provided pursuant to this subsection. The failure of the sheriff to submit a recommendation within the ten-day period constitutes a favorable recommendation for the issuance of the permit to the applicant. If the fingerprint review and background check are favorable, SLED must issue the permit.
(C) SLED shall issue a written statement to an unqualified applicant specifying its reasons for denying the application within ninety days from the date the application was received; otherwise, SLED shall issue a concealable weapon permit. If an applicant is unable to comply with the provisions of Section 23-31-210(4), SLED shall offer the applicant a handgun training course that satisfies the requirements of Section 23-31-210(4)(a). The course shall cost fifty dollars. SLED shall use the proceeds to defray the training course’s operating costs. If a permit is granted by operation of law because an applicant was not notified of a denial within the ninety-day notification period, the permit may be revoked upon written notification from SLED that sufficient grounds exist for revocation or initial denial.
(D) Denial of an application may be appealed. The appeal must be in writing and state the basis for the appeal. The appeal must be submitted to the Chief of SLED within thirty days from the date the denial notice is received. The chief shall issue a written decision within ten days from the date the appeal is received. An adverse decision shall specify the reasons for upholding the denial and may be reviewed by the Administrative Law Judge Division pursuant to Article 5, Chapter 23 of Title 1, upon a petition filed by an applicant within thirty days from the date of delivery of the division’s decision.
(E) SLED must make permit application forms available to the public. A permit application form shall require an applicant to supply:
(1) name, including maiden name if applicable;
(2) date and place of birth;
(7) eye and hair color;
(8) current residence address, or if the applicant is a qualified nonresident, current residence address and where the applicant owns real property in this State; and
(9) all residence addresses for the three years preceding the application date.
(F) The permit application form shall require the applicant to certify that:
(1) he is not a person prohibited under state law from possessing a weapon;
(2) he understands the permit is revoked and must be surrendered immediately to SLED if the permit holder becomes a person prohibited under state law from possessing a weapon;
(3) he is a resident of this State, is military personnel on permanent change of station orders, or is a qualified nonresident; and
(4) all information contained in his application is true and correct to the best of his knowledge.
(G) Medical personnel, law enforcement agencies, organizations offering handgun education courses pursuant to Section 23-31-210(4)(a), and their personnel, who in good faith provide information regarding a person’s application, must be exempt from liability that may arise from issuance of a permit; provided, however, a weapons instructor must meet the requirements established in Section 23-31-210(4)(b), (c), (d), (e), or (f) in order to be exempt from liability under this subsection.
(H) A permit application must be submitted in person or by mail to SLED headquarters which shall verify the legibility and accuracy of the required documents.
(I) SLED must maintain a list of all permit holders and the current status of each permit. SLED may release the list of permit holders or verify an individual’s permit status only if the request is made by a law enforcement agency to aid in an official investigation, or if the list is required to be released pursuant to a subpoena or court order. SLED may charge a fee not to exceed its costs in releasing the information under this subsection. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, a person in possession of a list of permit holders obtained from SLED must destroy the list.
(J) A permit is valid statewide unless revoked because the person has:
(1) become a person prohibited under state law from possessing a weapon;
(2) moved his permanent residence to another state and no longer owns real property in this State;
(3) voluntarily surrendered the permit; or
(4) been charged with an offense that, upon conviction, would prohibit the person from possessing a firearm. However, if the person subsequently is found not guilty of the offense, then his permit must be reinstated at no charge.
Once a permit is revoked, it must be surrendered to a sheriff, police department, a SLED agent, or by certified mail to the Chief of SLED. A person who fails to surrender his permit in accordance with this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined twenty-five dollars.
(K) A permit holder must have his permit identification card in his possession whenever he carries a concealable weapon. When carrying a concealable weapon pursuant to Article 4 of Chapter 31 of Title 23, a permit holder must inform a law enforcement officer of the fact that he is a permit holder and present the permit identification card when an officer (1) identifies himself as a law enforcement officer and (2) requests identification or a driver’s license from a permit holder. A permit holder immediately must report the loss or theft of a permit identification card to SLED headquarters. A person who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined twenty-five dollars.
(L) SLED shall issue a replacement for lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed permit identification cards after the permit holder has updated all information required in the original application and the payment of a five-dollar replacement fee. Any change of permanent address must be communicated in writing to SLED within ten days of the change accompanied by the payment of a fee of five dollars to defray the cost of issuance of a new permit. SLED shall then issue a new permit with the new address. A permit holder’s failure to notify SLED in accordance with this subsection constitutes a misdemeanor punishable by a twenty-five dollar fine. The original permit shall remain in force until receipt of the corrected permit identification card by the permit holder, at which time the original permit must be returned to SLED.
(M) A permit issued pursuant to this section does not authorize a permit holder to carry a concealable weapon into a:
(1) police, sheriff, or highway patrol station or any other law enforcement office or facility;
(2) detention facility, prison, or jail or any other correctional facility or office;
(3) courthouse or courtroom;
(4) polling place on election days;
(5) office of or the business meeting of the governing body of a county, public school district, municipality, or special purpose district;
(6) school or college athletic event not related to firearms;
(7) daycare facility or pre-school facility;
(8) place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law;
(9) church or other established religious sanctuary unless express permission is given by the appropriate church official or governing body; or
(10) hospital, medical clinic, doctor’s office, or any other facility where medical services or procedures are performed unless expressly authorized by the employer.
A person who wilfully violates a provision of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than one thousand dollars or imprisoned not more than one year, or both, at the discretion of the court and have his permit revoked for five years.Nothing contained herein may be construed to alter or affect the provisions of Sections 10-11-320, 16-23-420, 16-23-430, 16-23-465, 44-23-1080, 44-52-165, 50-9-830, and 51-3-145.
(N) Valid out-of-state permits to carry concealable weapons held by a resident of a reciprocal state must be honored by this State, provided, that the reciprocal state requires an applicant to successfully pass a criminal background check and a course in firearm training and safety. A resident of a reciprocal state carrying a concealable weapon in South Carolina is subject to and must abide by the laws of South Carolina regarding concealable weapons. SLED shall maintain and publish a list of those states as the states with which South Carolina has reciprocity.
(O) A permit issued pursuant to this article is not required for a person:
(1) specified in Section 16-23-20, items (1) through (5) and items (7) through (11);
(2) carrying a self-defense device generally considered to be nonlethal including the substance commonly referred to as “pepper gas”;
(3) carrying a concealable weapon in a manner not prohibited by law.
(P) A permit issued pursuant to this article is valid for four years. Subject to subsection (Q) of this section, SLED shall renew a currently valid permit upon:
(1) payment of a fifty-dollar renewal fee by the applicant. This fee must be waived for disabled veterans and retired law enforcement officers;
(2) completion of the renewal application; and
(3) submission of a photocopy of the applicant’s valid South Carolina driver’s license or South Carolina identification card, or if the applicant is a qualified nonresident, a photocopy of the applicant’s valid driver’s license or identification card issued by the state in which the applicant resides.
(Q) Upon submission of the items required by subsection (P) of this section, SLED must conduct or facilitate a local, state, and federal fingerprint review of the applicant. If the background check is favorable, SLED must renew the permit.
(R) No provision contained within this article shall expand, diminish, or affect the duty of care owed by and liability accruing to, as may exist at law immediately before the effective date of this article, the owner of or individual in legal possession of real property for the injury or death of an invitee, licensee, or trespasser caused by the use or misuse by a third party of a concealable weapon. Absence of a sign prohibiting concealable weapons shall not constitute negligence or establish a lack of duty of care.
(S) Once a concealed weapon permit holder is no longer a resident of this State or is no longer a qualified nonresident, his concealed weapon permit is void, and immediately must be surrendered to SLED.
(T) During the first quarter of each calendar year, SLED must publish a report of the following information regarding the previous calendar year:
(1) the number of permits;
(2) the number of permits that were issued;
(3) the number of permit applications that were denied;
(4) the number of permits that were renewed;
(5) the number of permit renewals that were denied;
(6) the number of permits that were suspended or revoked; and
(7) the name, address, and county of a person whose permit was revoked, including the reason for the revocation under Section 23-31-215(J)(1).
The report must include a breakdown of such information by county.
HISTORY: 1996 Act No. 464, Section 1; 1997 Act No. 39, Section 2; 2002 Act No. 274, Section 4; 2005 Act No. 154, Section 1; 2006 Act No. 347, Section 2, eff June 9, 2006; 2008 Act No. 202, Sections 1, 2, eff April 16, 2008; 2008 Act No. 349, Section 1, eff June 16, 2008.
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