South Carolinians can now legally carry handguns without a permit.

In a closed-door ceremony Thursday, Gov. Henry McMaster signed H. 3594, known as the “Second Amendment Preservation Act,” or commonly called “constitutional carry.”

The law, which took effect after the governor’s signature, now allows gun owners ages 18 and older to openly carry firearms without a permit.

“With my signature, South Carolina is now the 29th state in the country with constitutional carry,” McMaster posted on X, formerly Twitter. “This bill expands the Second Amendment rights of our law-abiding citizens and will keep violent criminals behind bars with increased penalties for illegal gun use and possession.”

South Carolina is now the 29th state to pass permitless carry legislation. The others are:

Alaska Montana
Idaho Iowa
Missouri Kentucky
Florida Wyoming
Vermont West Virginia
Georgia Indiana
Ohio New Hampshire
South Dakota Nebraska
Arkansas Tennessee
Alabama Mississippi
Arizona Texas
Oklahoma North Carolina
Delaware Nevada
Maine Montana

State Rep. Brandon Cox, a Berkeley Republican, said on the floor Tuesday the bill not only advances gun owners’ constitutional rights but also addresses gun crime.

Louisiana signed this bill into law this morning, and those states have not become the wild, wild west,” Cox said.

The law includes increased penalties for illegal gun possession, and it shortens the window for gun owners to report their stolen weapons. It also includes statewide state-paid training classes.

Firearms are still banned in locations where guns are banned now, including courthouses, schools, and the Statehouse. Gun owners can still get a concealed weapons permit.

Tre’Von Barber, a Fort Mill-based South Carolina Law Enforcement Division-approved firearms instructor, said he likes that gun rights are further expanded in South Carolina. […]


The amended legislation, negotiated by six legislators from the state House and Senate this week, passed the lower chamber Tuesday mainly along party lines by an 86-33 vote.


The negotiated proposal passed the Senate 28-18, again, mostly along party lines.

One Democrat, state Sen. Mike Fanning of Fairfield, voted to pass the legislation.



Maayan Schechter contributed to this report.