Background Checks in South Carolina

Posted on Friday, June 26th, 2015

See our Background Checks policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not unlicensed sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)

South Carolina is not a point of contact state for firearm purchaser background checks.1 In South Carolina, firearms dealers must initiate the background check required by federal law by contacting the FBI directly.

Federal law does not require dealers to conduct a background check if a firearm purchaser presents a state permit to purchase or possess firearms that meets certain conditions.2 As a result, concealable weapons permit holders in South Carolina are exempt from the federal background check requirement.3 (Note, however, that people who have become prohibited from possessing firearms may continue to hold state permits to purchase or carry firearms if the state fails to remove these permits in a timely fashion.).

In 2012, South Carolina repealed its modest state law requirement that a person buying a handgun from a dealer present identification.4

South Carolina does not require unlicensed sellers (sellers who are not licensed dealers) to initiate a background check when transferring a firearm. See our Universal Background Checks policy summary.

  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System Participation Map, at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/participation-map. []
  2. Federal law exempts persons who have been issued state permits to purchase or possess firearms from background checks if those permits were issued: 1) within the previous five years in the state in which the transfer is to take place; and 2) after an authorized government official has conducted a background investigation, including a search of the NICS database, to verify that possession of a firearm would not be unlawful. 18 U.S.C. § 922(t)(3), 27 C.F.R. § 478.102(d). []
  3. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, U.S. Department. of Justice, Brady Law: Permanent Brady Permit Chart (June 10, 2014), at: https://www.atf.gov/rules-and-regulations/permanent-brady-permit-chart. []
  4. 2012 S.C. Act No. 285. []

Multiple Purchases & Sales of Firearms in South Carolina

Posted on Friday, June 26th, 2015

South Carolina imposes no restrictions on purchases or sales of multiple firearms.1

See our Restrictions on Multiple Purchases or Sales of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. A 30 year-old law restricting handgun purchases to one per person per month was repealed in 2004. See 2004 S.C. Acts 242. []

Retention of Sales & Background Check Records in South Carolina

Posted on Friday, June 26th, 2015

South Carolina has no laws requiring the retention of sales or background check records by firearm sellers.

See our Retention of Firearm Sales and Background Check Records for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Waiting Periods in South Carolina

Posted on Friday, June 26th, 2015

South Carolina has no law imposing a waiting period prior to purchase of a firearm.

See our Waiting Periods policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Dealer Regulations in South Carolina

Posted on Friday, June 26th, 2015

See our Dealer Regulations policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law requires firearms dealers to obtain a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives (ATF), although resource limitations prevent the ATF from properly overseeing all its licensees.

In 2012, South Carolina repealed its law governing handgun dealers. 1 South Carolina formerly required that any retail dealer selling handguns must possess a dealer license and comply with certain conditions.

For laws:

  1. 2012 S.C. Act No. 285, § 2. []

Private Sales in South Carolina

Posted on Friday, June 26th, 2015

“Private” firearms transfers (i.e., transfers by non-firearms dealers) are not subject to a background check requirement in South Carolina.

South Carolina law prohibits knowingly selling, offering to sell, delivering, leasing, renting, bartering, exchanging, or transporting for sale into the state any handgun to a person prohibited from possessing handguns under South Carolina law.1 For a list of these individuals, see the section entitled South Carolina Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

South Carolina also prohibits any person from knowingly selling, offering, delivering, leasing, renting, bartering, exchanging a firearm to someone who is not lawfully present in the U.S.2

See our Private Sales policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. S.C. Code Ann. § 16-23-30(A). []
  2. S.C. Code Ann. § 16-23-530(B). []

Gun Shows in South Carolina

Posted on Friday, June 26th, 2015

South Carolina does not explicitly regulate gun shows. See the South Carolina Private Sales section for state laws that apply at gun shows.

See our Gun Shows policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Licensing of Gun Owners & Purchasers in South Carolina

Posted on Friday, June 26th, 2015

South Carolina has no law requiring gun owners or purchasers to obtain a license.

See our Licensing of Gun Owners or Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Registration of Firearms in South Carolina

Posted on Friday, June 26th, 2015

South Carolina has no law requiring firearms to be registered.
See our Registration of Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms in South Carolina

Posted on Friday, June 26th, 2015

South Carolina does not require firearm owners to report the loss or theft of a firearm.

See our Reporting Lost or Stolen Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.