When the Post “n” Courier, a local newspaper in Charleston, SC, ran an expose on domestic violence in South Carolina the legislators were shamed into taking action. In a rush to take a hard stance, the lawmakers came to the rescue by increasing penalties, fines, and in some cases taking away your gun rights. If history has taught us anything about systemic problems (think “war on drugs”) making more arrests, and increasing penalties is how you solve a legal problem such as domestic violence and gun rights. Right?
So, if you have been convicted of domestic violence in South Carolina’s state courts your rights to carry a gun are defined by both federal and state law even though you only have a state court conviction. This is why you need to consult a Charleston criminal defense attorney so you will be fully informed of the collateral consequences a conviction holds before you make your decision.
Gun ownership under state law
On June 4th 2015 there was a sweeping reform of the domestic violence laws in South Carolina. These changes brought about harsher penalties, increased fines, and affected your right to own a gun following a conviction in most convictions.
Domestic violence 1st Degree: if you are convicted of domestic violence 1st degree then you are prohibited from possessing a gun in South Carolina. See 16-25-30 (b).
Domestic violence 2nd Degree: if you have been convicted of domestic violence 2nd degree 16-25-30(c) you may lose your right to carry a gun. State law only, federal law it’s a crime to carry a gun if you have this conviction.
Domestic violence 3rd Degree: if you have been convicted of domestic violence 3rd degree 16-25-30(d) you may even lose your right to possess a gun. However, under federal law, it’s a crime to carry a gun if you have this conviction.
Sentencing for domestic violence 2nd and 3rd degree (state law): if you plead guilty or are found guilty then at the time of sentencing the judge will make a finding regarding whether a person can lawfully carry a gun. This seems to have been a compromise by legislators who where worried about re-election if they banned citizens from owning guns following a domestic violence conviction so they placed the burden on our judges shoulders.
Gun ownership under federal law
And you thought state law was bad, under federal Law 18 U.S.C. 933(g)(9) prohibits a person from carrying any firearm or ammunition after a conviction for a “misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. You re4ad that right even if you are convicted of a domestic violence 3rd degree offense in state court, Federal law prohibits you from possessing a gun.
Charleston Domestic Violence Attorney
Call me today at (843) 530-7813 or e-mail me with any questions or concerns regarding your Charleston domestic violence and gun rights issue, you will speak directly to an experienced Charleston domestic violence lawyer about your case. The consultation is free and all discussions are confidential.