Nikki HaleyThis week, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley signed into law new concealed carry reform that will allow Concealed Weapons Permit (CWP) holders to legally carry their handguns into an establishment that is licensed to serve alcohol, extends the length of the term of the CWP, improves training standards, and is supposed to improve the overall application and renewal process.

South Carolina becomes the 46th state to allow carrying of concealed guns into establishments that serve alcohol.

Here’s the breakdown of what and how the law, Senate Bill 308, impacts South Carolina CWP holders:

  • Allows a CWP holder to carry a firearm into an establishment that serves alcohol, although that person cannot consume alcohol if carrying.
  • Allows an owner to ban individuals from carrying firearms in their establishment.
  • Removes proof of residency requirements and expands the range of acceptable photo identification that may be used when applying for a CWP.
  • Eliminates the 8-hour training requirement for a handgun course, but maintains the topics that must be covered in that class.
  • Waives training requirements for individuals that can prove they have completed military basic training or is a retired law enforcement officer that proves graduation from the CJA.
  • Deletes the assumption of applicant endorsement by a local sheriff if the sheriff chooses not to comment on a CWP application.
  • Simplifies the permit renewal process, eliminates fingerprint checks for renewals, and increases the renewal time to five years.
  • Allows SLED to engage in electronic communication with an applicant.

The National Rifle Association commented on the new law. “The NRA thanks Governor Haley for signing SB 308 into law, the state legislators who voted for it and NRA members who contacted their state lawmakers in support of this needed reform. Your NRA-ILA is working to ensure other pro-gun reforms remain a priority for the South Carolina General Assembly this year, and we will continue to keep you updated as this legislative session progresses.”

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The legislation does remove renewal fees for applicants who are disabled veterans and retired law enforcement officials.

Though the legislation touts improved training standards, I saw nothing new that my wife and I did not achieve in previous CWP standards. We took our training from former a former Sheriff in Spartanburg. However, SLED (South Carolina Law Enforcement Division) is listed as providing training courses for $50 in the new legislation.

I’m anxious to see the process for turnover of applications as SLED is to issue permits within 90 days, but our experience was that it was taking over 90 days for citizens to receive their permits. Also troubling was the fact that outsiders were brought in to help with the permit process, which contained sensitive information such as driver’s license number, social security number and address. This is not addressed in the new legislation.

South Carolina also recognizes other states that have similar standards to their own as valid within the state. I highly recommend you pick up a copy of United States Traveler’s Guide to the Firearm Laws of the 50 States
to keep yourself familiar with the laws of various states, especially if you are traveling outside your home state.

Tim Brown is the Editor of Freedom Outpost.