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In the past 3 school years, more than 1,000 weapons have been confiscated at schools in South Carolina. The vast majority of these weapons were knives.

Many parents are attempting to more actively combat the issue of weapons in schools. As a result, schools and law enforcement are cracking down even harder on laws restricting weapons on school property.

Because of the increased attention on these codes, it’s more important than ever to understand what is and what is not allowed under South Carolina law and to know what penalties you could face if you violate these rules.

If you find yourself facing this charge, contact a South Carolina criminal defense attorney as soon as possible!

Laws Related to Weapons on School Property

SC law specifically outlines a number of gun and weapon-related rules having to do with bringing guns and other weapons onto school property.


According to South Carolina Code Section 16-23-420, it is unlawful to:

  • Possess a firearm on the property of a school
  • Carry a firearm on any property owned, operated or controlled by a public or private school, college or university
  • Display, brandish or threaten with a firearm

The law does say that having a gun on state or locally owned and maintained roads that run around or through a school is not illegal as long as the gun owner is licensed to carry the gun in the way that it is being carried.

Other Weapons

Guns on school property aren’t the only weapons regulated in South Carolina.

According to South Carolina law, it is also illegal to bring the following onto the property of an elementary or secondary school:

  • Knife with a blade over 2 inches long
  • Blackjack
  • Metal pipe or pole
  • Firearm
  • Any other kind of weapon, device, or object that may be used to inflict bodily injury or death

Penalties for Possessing a Weapon on School Property

The penalty you will face if you are caught with a gun or other weapon on school property will depend on the type of school to which you bring the weapon.

Post-Secondary Schools

If you’re found with a gun at a post-secondary school (college, university, community college, etc) you could face the following penalties:

FinesJail Time
Up to $5,000Up to 5 years
You could receive a fine, jail time or both.

Elementary and Secondary Schools

If you bring any kind of weapon, including a gun, onto the property of an elementary or secondary school, you could face the following penalties:

FinesJail Time
Up to $1,000Up to 5 years
You could receive a fine, jail time or both.

In addition to these penalties, your weapon may be confiscated.

Concealed Weapons Permits

While a concealed weapons permit may allow you to carry your gun in some public places, according to South Carolina Code Section 16-23-420, you are not allowed to carry it on school property.

Even if you have a concealed weapons permit, you cannot bring a gun into a school on your person.

If you have a permit, you may keep your gun in an attended or locked car on school property as long as the gun is secured in the glove compartment, closed console, closed trunk or luggage compartment of your vehicle.

If you violate this rule, you face the same penalties as anyone else who brings a gun onto school property would, including the risk of confiscation.

Juvenile Offenders

Laws that prohibit weapons on school grounds apply to people of all ages, children and adults alike. If you’re a juvenile, however, you could face additional penalties.

If you bring a weapon onto school grounds as a juvenile, you could be expelled from school.

And, whether you’re expelled or not, if a record of bringing a weapon to school is on your permanent educational record, it could affect your future education options. Some schools will not accept students who have any kind of weapons charge on their record.

Play it Safe, Know the Rules

There is more and more attention being paid to preventing weapons from being on school grounds. If you bring a weapon onto school property, you run a serious risk of facing a fine, jail time, or depending on your age, limiting your future options.

Your best bet is always to know the rules, and follow them.

But if you’re facing a charge for bringing a weapon onto school property, you need help defending that charge.

We are ready to support you in your legal battle and guide you through the complicated process of defending this charge.

Contact us today for a free in-person consultation. Reach out by phone at 803-808-0905 or through our online contact form, and we’ll be in touch right away.

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