Buying Ammo and Guns in South Carolina

DISCLAIMER: It is your full responsibility to make sure the firearm, ammunition, or accessories you are purchasing is legal for you to own in your state or jurisdiction. The information contained throughout this web site, including the firearm and ammunition state guide provided below, is not legal advice and should not be construed as legal advice.

This piece explains the ammunition and firearms laws relevant to South Carolina. To do so, the piece begins with the ammunition laws, where we detail how to have ammunition shipped to a home in the state. Next, the piece dives into the gun laws of the state in terms of both buying and carrying firearms. To conclude, we leave you with some resources that will be useful to folks who want to legally buy, own, and carry guns and ammo in South Carolina.

This piece is not intended as legal advice. Instead, we hope that you find the information here useful for your own research so that you can make informed decisions.

Like most states, South Carolina has preemption. This means that the state has a law that prohibits localities such as counties, cities, and towns from making their own firearms laws that are stricter than those at the state level. In practical terms, preemption means that once you understand the gun laws at the state level, that understanding can be applied to the entire state.

Overall, South Carolina is a fairly permissive state in terms of its firearm and ammunition laws. There are no major bans in the state and it is relatively simple for most people to acquire and carry firearms within the state, though a permit is required to do so in most cases.

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in South Carolina 

First, we will cover the ammo laws of the state.

South Carolina is permissive in terms of its ammunition laws: there are no major bans at the state level. Thus, the process for buying ammo in the state is governed by the rules set forth at the federal level and enforced by the ATF.

The ATF sets two requirements for those who wish to purchase ammunition. The first is an age requirement: buyers have to be eighteen to purchase ammo intended for long guns (rifles and shotguns), and twenty-one or older to purchase handgun ammo. Secondly, buyers cannot be prohibited persons, which the ATF defines as people who have been convicted of felonies or domestic violence, people who have been found mentally unfit in court, and those who have been involuntarily committed to an inpatient mental health facility for treatment.

Assuming that the buyer meets both of those requirements, the state of South Carolina is fine with the buyer having ammo shipped to their door. Keep in mind that carriers can and sometimes do set their own rules, such as asking for someone with valid identification to be present to sign for packages containing ammunition.

Since federal law applies in the entire United States, and South Carolina does not have additional bans on ammunition sales, it is one of the most permissive states in the country in terms of ammunition laws. Assuming the buyer meets federal requirements, it is simple to have ammo shipped to a residential address in South Carolina.  

Gun Laws/Buying Guns in South Carolina 

Next, we will do the same exercise for the state’s gun laws.

South Carolina’s permissiveness continues when it comes to the firearms purchasing laws in the state. This state does not have a magazine ban, nor does it have any kind of assault weapons ban that would prohibit certain firearms based on either features or a specifically named list of guns. Similarly, the state is fine with its residents owning NFA items such as suppressors, machine guns, and short-barreled rifles and shotguns so long as federal requirements and laws are followed.

Buying a gun in South Carolina follows the federally mandated process. Thus, the buyer should bring both a valid form of identification and a form of payment to the gun store. There, the FFL will have the buyer fill out Form 4473 from the ATF, which functions as both a background check and a record of the sale. Once the background check is clear and payment has been received, the buyer is free to leave with their firearm the same day.  There are no waiting periods imposed by the state, either: much like the ammo buying process, the gun purchasing process in SC is mostly set by the federal government, making the state among the most permissive.

South Carolina does not mandate that private parties do a background check when selling guns, but it is always wise to ensure that buyers meet age requirements and are not prohibited persons. A written bill of sale and a signed statement that the buyer meets requirements is often advised by firearms attorneys.

While South Carolina is very permissive in terms of buying both guns and anno, it is a little bit less so when it comes to the carriage of firearms.

Residents of the state are allowed to openly carry long guns without a permit, but cannot openly carry a handgun without a permit.

Concealed carry permits in the state are relatively simple to get and are required to carry any kind of firearm concealed. These permits also generally allow holders to carry a pistol openly: this has the benefit of cutting down on people calling the police on folks who accidentally display a firearm while doing things like reaching for an item on a grocery store shelf.

The South Carolina Permit is fairly widely recognized in a number of other states as well.

Like most states, South Carolina has a list of places where the carriage of firearms is generally illegal. This list includes:

  • The State Capitol

  • Publicly Owned Buildings and Property without Express Permission 

  • Bars (Concealed carry permit holders can carry unless a sign against it is posted)

  • Correctional Facilities

  • Hotels with posted signs 

  • Police Facilities 

  • Courtrooms

  • Polling Places

  • Government offices

  • K-12 Schools

  • Churches without permission

  • Hospitals

  • Mental Health Facilities

While this list is somewhat long, it is not an usual one, even among the most permissive states. It’s also worth noting that it is always illegal to carry a gun in most federal buildings, which includes your local post office.

Overall, South Carolina is permissive when it comes to buying firearms and ammo. While the requirement to have a permit to carry concealed firearms makes it less than completely permissive, the permitting process is fairly standard and is not a major knock against the state’s general permissiveness. 

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in South Carolina 

South Carolina has a base sales tax rate of 6%, and some localities add additional taxes which makes their effective sales tax rate 9%. It might be worthwhile to look around for an FFL in a lower-taxed part of the state in this case.

The state does not have additional, specific taxes on firearms and ammunition sales. 

More Resources:

  • The ATF maintains a list of every FFL in the country, including in South Carolina. This list is kept well up to date: generally, gun stores are either Type 1 or Type 2 FFLs. 

  • is a great tool for finding ranges: use the mileage, city, and zip code filters to find ranges in your area. Users can add more ranges, too, and the information is regularly checked for accuracy.

  • There are a number of well-rated gun stores in the state for all of your firearms needs. 

  • There is a reasonably active subreddit that covers local firearms events and is worth looking through for local knowledge on firearms and places to shoot.

SC Gun Law FAQ:

As long as the buyer meets federal requirements, South Carolina is fine with the shipping of ammunition to a residential address. The state is also home to Palmetto State Armory, which is one of the larger shippers of guns and ammo in the country.

South Carolina requires a permit to legally carry a concealed firearm. The permits are shall-issue, and allow folks to carry in most places, though there is a list of places where it is prohibited. 

South Carolina is among the more gun-friendly states to be sure. There are no major bans in the state and the gun-buying process is dictated at the federal level. The state does require a concealed carry permit, but this is fairly common even among permissive states.

There are no bans on any categories of firearms at the state level in North Carolina. Since the firearms industry brings a lot of jobs to the state, it’s also very unlikely that such a ban would pass even if it were proposed. 

The state does not ban any category of NFA items outright. Thus, the state is fine with people owning suppressors, as long as they follow federal guidelines which are not set by individual states.