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South Carolina’s hate and gun laws have significant gaps that allow people to keep and access guns, including assault weapons, after they have been convicted of violent hate crimes.u003cbru003e

Access to Guns for People Convicted of Hate Crimes in South Carolina
Violence with Severe Bodily InjuryViolence with Bodily InjuryOther Crimes Involving Intentional Use of ForceThreats with Deadly Weapons
Other Credible Threats to Physical Safety
u003cstrongu003eFederal Lawu003c/strongu003eVery limited or no accessSome accessSome accessVery limited or no access
Some access
u003cstrongu003eState Lawu003c/strongu003eSome accessSignificant accessSignificant accessSignificant access
Significant access

South Carolina is one of the only states in the nation that still has no criminal hate crime statute

Under state law, South Carolina prohibits people from accessing guns if they have been convicted of specified violent felonies.1 Federal law is broader and generally prohibits people from accessing firearms if they have been convicted of a felony punishable by over one year in prison, or a state law misdemeanor punishable by more than two years.2 In South Carolina, Class A misdemeanors are punishable by up to three years,3 so people are generally subject to federal firearm restrictions if they are convicted of either felonies or Class A misdemeanors in South Carolina.

As a result, hate crime offenders are generally prohibited from accessing guns under both South Carolina and federal law only if they are convicted of specified violent felonies, including assault and battery involving great bodily injury.4 However, people convicted of many other violent felonies and class A misdemeanors in South Carolina are subject to federal firearm restrictions only. This state law gap includes people convicted of shooting a firearm into an occupied building or home; violently inflicting “moderate bodily injury” (defined to include “prolonged loss of consciousness” or temporary or moderate disfigurement or loss of the function of a bodily organ); seriously injuring a victim through acts of mob violence; threateningly pointing a firearm at a victim; threatening or attempting to injure a person with a deadly weapon; and stalking with threats of violence.5

People convicted of other violent hate crime misdemeanors also generally remain eligible to access guns under both state and federal law, including people convicted of injuring a victim in a hate crime assault and battery, or making credible threats of serious violence.6


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  1. S.C. Code Ann. § 16-23-500(A); S.C. Code Ann. § 16-1-60.[]
  2. 18 U.S.C. § 922 (g)(1); 18 U.S.C. § 921(a)(20)(B).[]
  3.  S.C. Code Ann. § 16-1-20(A)(7)-(9).[]
  4. S.C. Code Ann. §§ 16-1-60, 16-3-600(B).[]
  5. S.C. Code Ann. §§ 16-1-60; 16-23-440(A); 16-3-210(C); 16-3-600(C), (D); 16-23-410; 16-3-1730(A).[]
  6. S.C. Code Ann. §§ 16-1-60; 16-3-600(E); 16-3-210(D).[]