Please See Below for a Transcript of the Video
Hi, I’m Richard Waring, and I’m a criminal defense attorney in Charleston, SC. If you’ve been charged with Unlawful Carry of a Pistol or some other gun crime, or maybe if you’ve just wondered in general, you might have asked yourself, “where can I legally keep my handgun in my vehicle in South Carolina?” Well, the answer to that question is spelled out in the South Carolina code, so what I’m about to mention is not an opinion by any means. The South Carolina code states fairly clearly for the most part what the law is. And, subject to some other specific limitations and exceptions, in general, here’s the deal with where you can keep your handgun in your vehicle:
First off, before you can possess a handgun or any firearm, it goes without saying that you have to legally be able to possess one in the first place. So, if you’re a felon, have been convicted of a statutorily violent crime or what is deemed a crime of violence (I’ll go over those distinctions in another video), if you’re under 18, if the serial number on the handgun is obliterated, or if you’ve been deemed mentally unfit to carry a firearm by a judge or due to involuntary commitment to a mental institution, or if you have a valid order of protection or restraining order against you, or if you’re a drug addict or illegal alien, or if you’ve been convicted of domestic violence, you can’t legally possess a firearm.
Now, assuming you are legally allowed to possess a firearm, if you do not have a concealed weapons permit, the South Carolina code says that you may keep your handgun secured in a closed glove compartment, closed console, closed trunk, or in a closed container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the luggage compartment of the vehicle; however, you’re not in violation if the glove compartment, console, or trunk is opened while in the presence of a law enforcement officer for the sole purpose of retrieving a driver’s license, registration, or proof of insurance. I just mentioned the term “luggage compartment.” The South Carolina code says that means the trunk of a motor vehicle which has a trunk; however, with respect to a motor vehicle which does not have a trunk, the term “luggage compartment” refers to the area of the motor vehicle in which the manufacturer designed that luggage be carried or to the area of the motor vehicle in which luggage is customarily carried. In a station wagon, van, hatchback vehicle, truck, or sport utility vehicle, the term “luggage compartment” refers to the area behind the rearmost seat.
Now, if you do have a concealed weapons permit AND only if you have a concealed weapons permit, then you have the additional options of storing your handgun in your vehicle in the following locations: under a seat in your vehicle, or in any open or closed storage compartment within the vehicle’s passenger compartment. Lastly, as a concealed weapons permit holder, and again, only as a concealed weapons permit holder, you’re allowed to conceal your handgun, while in your vehicle, on or about your person.
Among many other exceptions and limitations, despite ordinarily being able to legally have a handgun on your person or under a seat while in your vehicle if you’re a concealed weapons permit holder, if you’re on school grounds or property, the South Carolina code only seems to allow concealed weapons permit holders to have a handgun in their vehicle as long as the weapon remains inside an attended or locked motor vehicle and is secured in a closed glove compartment, closed console, closed trunk, or in a closed container secured by an integral fastener and transported in the luggage compartment of the vehicle. And even though a person might have a concealed weapons permit, they are not allowed to carry that handgun on school property at all unless they comply with the conditions I just mentioned (i.e. that it’s in the right place in their vehicle only). Those individuals without concealed weapons permits, according to the South Carolina code, shouldn’t have a firearm on school property at all and not even in your vehicle.
Again, there are many exceptions and limitations to these rules, and a skilled criminal defense attorney can help guide you when dealing with matters pertaining to gun laws and gun crimes such as Unlawful Carry of a Pistol, Possession of a Weapon by Someone Under 18, Possession of a Pistol with an Obliterated Serial Number, and so on. The most important takeaway is to stay knowledgeable on the do’s and don’ts of the gun laws and to always follow the law.
If you’re in the Charleston, SC area and are in need of a criminal defense attorney, give me a call anytime and we can go over your gun issue or talk about your gun crime. With almost 10 years of trial experience as a prosecutor, and having prosecuted countless gun crimes, I know how the gun laws work. Best of luck.
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