Gun Charges and Penalties in Greenville, SC

Greenville, SC, a picturesque city known for its vibrant arts scene and burgeoning tech industry, also boasts a strong tradition of gun ownership. Responsible firearm owners must follow South Carolina gun laws. The consequences of breaking these laws can be severe.

This blog delves into the penalties for gun charges in South Carolina. If you are accused of a firearm-related offense, contact a Greenville defense lawyer at Baldwin Law.

Unlawful Carrying of a Pistol

One of the most common gun charges in South Carolina is the unlawful carrying of a pistol. This misdemeanor, governed by Section 23-31-220 of the South Carolina Code of Laws, prohibits carrying a concealed pistol without a valid concealed carry permit.

Penalties can range from a $250 fine to a year in jail, with potential probation and community service also on the table.

Exceptions to Unlawful Carrying

It’s important to note that several exceptions exist to the unlawful carrying statute. These include:

  • Carrying a pistol openly in a holster.
  • Carrying a pistol while on your own property or in your own dwelling.
  • Carrying a pistol while traveling directly to or from a place of lawful hunting or target shooting.
  • Carrying a pistol while a licensed security guard or private investigator performing official duties.

Gun Charges

  • Pointing and presenting a firearm: Felony punishable by up to five years in prison (Section 16-5-40).
  • Possessing a stolen pistol: This felony is punishable by up to five years and a fine of up to $5,000 (Section 16-23-300).
  • Discharging a firearm: Felony punishable by up to ten years in prison (Section 16-5-30).
  • Unlawful possession of a machine gun: Felony punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine (Section 16-23-250).
  • Unlawful possession of a sawed-off shotgun or rifle: Felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine (Section 16-23-260).

Unlawful Possession and Misuse

Unlawful Possession: Felonies carrying hefty penalties

  • Stolen firearm: Up to 5 years in prison. (S.C. Code § 16-23-20)
  • Possessing a firearm with a prior conviction for a violent felony: Up to 5 years imprisonment. (S.C. Code § 16-23-500)
  • Prohibited weapons (sawed-off shotguns, machine guns): Up to 10 years in prison. (S.C. Code § 16-23-105)


  • Unlawful discharge: Up to 10 years in prison, with additional charges for property damage or injury. (S.C. Code § 16-23-440)
  • Pointing or presenting a firearm: Up to 5 years in prison. (S.C. Code § 16-23-310)

you must comply with all the law if you want to carry a gun

South Carolina Gun Laws

Concealed Carry

  • Concealed Weapon Permit (CWP): Mandatory for concealed carry, issued by the South Carolina Sheriff’s Office. (S.C. Code § 16-23-110)
  • Violation: Misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

Open Carry

People with a concealed weapons permit (CWP) may openly carry a handgun on their person or in their vehicle, with restrictions. Open carry of a rifle is allowed without a permit, subject to restrictions.

  • Restrictions: Prohibited in government buildings, schools, and establishments with alcohol licenses. (S.C. Code § 16-23-30)
  • Federal Law Supersedes: Remember, federal regulations still apply across state lines and in federal buildings.

Additional Regulations

  • Background Checks: Required for all firearm purchases from licensed dealers. (S.C. Code § 16-23-190)
  • Mental Health Restrictions: Certain mental health conditions may disqualify individuals from gun ownership. (S.C. Code § 16-23-10)
  • Local Ordinances: City and county ordinances may impose additional restrictions on gun ownership and use.

What Gun Owners Need to Know

  • Proactive Knowledge: Learn about gun laws and regulations through official sources like the South Carolina Code of Laws and the South Carolina Concealed Weapon Permit website.
  • Responsible Gun Ownership: Practice safe gun handling, storage, and transportation.
  • Seek Legal Guidance: Consult a qualified attorney if you face any gun charges.

Building a Safer Community

Responsible gun owners and law enforcement can work together to build a safer community.

  • Education and Awareness: Communities can promote gun safety education programs and open communication about responsible gun ownership.
  • Community Engagement: Law enforcement and community organizations can collaborate to address gun violence and illegal gun activity.

Call a Skilled Greenville Criminal Defense Lawyer Today!

Baldwin Law understands the gravity of gun-related charges and the importance of mounting a robust defense. Our dedicated and aggressive Greenville criminal defense lawyer will vigorously fight for you and defend your rights.

Contact Baldwin Law at 864-630-8503 for a free case evaluation.

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