Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2021 ‘Background Check Procedures in South Carolina.’ Background Checks. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 18 April
Background Checks in South Carolina
Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private 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. 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. As a result, concealable weapons permit holders in South Carolina are exempt from the federal background check requirement. (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.).
South Carolina law states that a person must be a resident of South Carolina to purchase a handgun from a South Carolina dealer, and that the possession of a valid South Carolina driver's license or Department of Motor Vehicles identification card constitutes proof of residency. A dealer may not sell a handgun without clear evidence as to the identity of the purchaser being furnished to the dealer.
South Carolina does not require private sellers (sellers who are not licensed dealers) to initiate a background check when transferring a firearm…
[Editor's note: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence regularly updates its webpages with new data as US gun regulation evolves state by state. For the most up-to-date information on US gun laws, please refer to the Giffords URL below]