South Carolina: Armed Security Officers

Legislation and Details for South Carolina


South Carolina Title 40 – Title 40 – Professions and Occupations
Chapter 18 Private Security and Investigation
South Carolina Code of State Regulations Chapter 73 Article 9 Private Security and Private Investigation Businesses

Authorizing Department

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division
4400 Broad River Road
Columbia, South Caroline 29210
Phone: (803) 737-9000
Official Website

Licensure and License Fees

South Carolina licenses security business entities as either “Contract Security Business” or “Proprietary Security Business”. Individual officers employed by a contract or proprietary
licensee must obtain a valid “security officer registration certificate” from the department.
See: S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-80(A)

The licensee may apply and pay the fee for the security officer registration certificate or may require the person to be employed as a security officer to apply and pay the fee.
See: S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-80(A)

SLED only issues registration certificates to persons employed by a licensed security business.
See: S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-100(A)(4)(a)

In order to become an armed security officer, the applicant must additionally obtain the “Security Weapons Permit” by applying for the armed status.
See: S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-100(A)

A person issued a Security Weapons Permit in accordance with this section may only carry a firearm in an open and fully-exposed manner while in uniform and performing security duties or while in a vehicle enroute directly to or from a security post or place of assignment.
See: S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-100(C)

SLED in its discretion may issue a Security Concealed Weapons Permit to a registered security officer to carry, whether concealed or not, a firearm about his person, even though he is not in uniform or on duty if SLED determines that the additional permit would enable the permittee to better perform his assigned duties. The authority conveyed by the permit may be restricted by SLED, and violation of these restrictions constitutes a violation of Section 40-18-130.
See: S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-100(D)

$100   for inital registration
$45   to upgrade from an unarmed to an armed status

See: Application Form

Special Event Security
South Carolina permits the temporary use of unlicensed security officers by a licensed employer under the following conditions:

S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-90
Use of temporary employees for special events; notice of use; fees.
A person who holds a security business license may use temporary employees for special events without registering the temporary employees
if the temporary employment does not exceed ten days in a calendar year and the employees have no arrest authority and are not armed during the employment.
The names, addresses, and birth dates of the temporary employees, along with the identity and date of the special event for which they are to be employed,
must be furnished to SLED at least five days prior to the commencement of the special event, along with a fee of five dollars for each temporary employee.

Foreign Jurisdiction Licensure


Age Requirements

S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-100(A)
Must be at least 21 years of age


S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-80(A)(4)(c)

Must be a citizen of the United States


No baseline requirement



Permit Required

S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-100(A)
Effective May, 2018, Concealed Weapons Permits are now an online process, although mail applications are still permissible.
The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) implemented a new Concealed Weapon Permit (CWP) system on May 1st, 2018.
SLED in partnership with IdentoGo by IDEMIA, has developed the SLED EasyPath system. This streamlined system allows SLED to process CWP’s
as required by statute, while offering applicants a new online renewal process and adding a new online permit replacement feature as well.

For the online portal, see: Online Portal
See also: Concealed Weapons Permit Application

Requirement to carry an ID card

S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-80(A)(5)
While on duty, a registered person must have his registration certificate in possession.

Moral Character

S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-80(A)(4)(e)
Must be of good moral character


S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-100(A)

The application must be accompanied with one set of fingerprints

In early 2019, the State of South Carolina began a process on online, electronic fingerprint submission. For instructions and the portal,
see: IdentoGO

Substance Abuse

S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-80(A)(4)
(f)   Does not unlawfully use drugs

(g)   Does not use alcohol to such a degree as to affect adversely his ability to perform competently the duties of a security company licensee, has not been adjudicated an incapacitated person without being restored to legal competency, and who has no physical or mental impairment which would prevent him from competently performing the duties of a security company licensee

(h)   applicant must pass a SLED-approved pre-employment drug test.

Mental Health

S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-80(A)(4)(g)
Applicant must not have any physical or mental impairment which would prevent him from competently performing the duties of a security company licensee.

Criminal History Background Check

S.C. Code Ann. § 40-18-80(A)(4)(d)

Fingerprint cards submitted to SLED pursuant to Sections 40-18-50, 40-18-60, 40-18-70, and 40-18-100 must be submitted by SLED to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to facilitate a national criminal records check of the applicant. Must not been convicted of a felony or crime involving moral turpitude.

Personal References

Not Required

Training Requirements

It is the security company’s responsibility to provide training to their employees using SLED approved training materials.

Unarmed security officers are required to complete the “Primary Basic” training consisting of a minimum of four hours of classroom presentation time
and an additional minimum of two additional hours for company orientation, company policies and procedures, and assignment specific issues.

Specifically the curriculum covers the following topics:

1.   Post Orders for Security Officers
2.   Security Officer Registration
3.   Security Officer Ethics
4.   Security Officer Professionalism
5.   Situational Awareness
6.   Observation
7.   Law Enforcement Relations
8.   Note Taking / Reports
9.   Discovered Criminal Activity
10.   Crime Scene Preservation
11.   Workplace Violence and Emergency Response
12.   Violent Event Threats
13.   Training Documentation

See: SLED Primary Basic Training
See: SLED Proof of Primary Basic Training Form

Applicants for the armed officer status must additionally complete the “Primary Plus Training” consisting of the following curriculum:

1.   Patrol Procedures
2.   Vehicle Operations
3.   Reasonable Suspicion/ Investigative Detention/ Probable Cause
4.   Arrest
5.   Use of Force
6.   Testimony
7.   Handling Difficult People
8.   Handcuffing

See: SLED Primary Plus Training
See: SLED Proof of Primary Plus Training Form

Firearms Training curriculum

1.   Firearms Training Orientation
2.   Legality of the Use of Deadly Force
3.   Liability of the Use of Deadly Force
4.   Safe Use/Storage of Firearms (on/off duty)
5.   Demonstration of Proficiency
6.   Security Training Documentation

See: SLED Proof of Firearms Training Form

Exam Requirement

For each training topic taught , each applicant must successfully complete a written test that demonstrates the applicant’s understanding of the performance objectives.
A score of 80% is required to pass the test.

See: SLED Primary Basic Training

Child Support

No baseline requirement

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