Signs banning guns have legal requirements
If you're a business owner wanting to keep guns out of your establishment, especially after a new law that allows concealed-carry permit holders to carry in places serving alcohol, make sure your sign prohibiting concealed weapons is legal.
Gov. Nikki Haley on Tuesday signed a bill into law that allows concealed-carry permit holders to carry their concealed weapons into bars and restaurants serving alcohol. The law allows business owners to opt out if they post a sign indicating they prohibit concealed weapons – as long as the sign is legal.
South Carolina has a law dictating the guidelines for anyone wanting to prohibit concealed weapons in an establishment. Capt. David Turno of the Aiken Department of Public Safety said people frequently don't follow the law.
“They buy their own sign or don't realize that there's such strict requirements on the signage,” Turno said, adding that the only place in Aiken he knows of with a proper sign is the Aiken Mall Cinemas.
S.C. Code 23-31-235 states that the requirements for a sign prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons will only be satisfied by a sign expressing the prohibition “in both written language interdict and universal sign language.” All signs must be posted at each entrance into building where a concealable weapon permit holder is prohibited from carrying.
The law states the sign must be clearly visible from the outside of the building and 8 inches wide and 12 inches tall. It must contain the words “NO CONCEALABLE WEAPONS ALLOWED” in black 1-inch-tall uppercase type at the bottom of the sign and centered between the lateral edges of the sign.
The sign must contain a black silhouette of a handgun inside a circle 7-inches in diameter with a diagonal line that is two inches wide and runs from the lower left to the upper right at a 45-degree angle from the horizontal, and must be a diameter of a circle, the circumference of which is 2 inches wide.
When placing the sign, it must be no less than 40 inches and no more than 60 inches above the ground and must be posted in “sufficient quantities” visible from any point of entry onto the premises, the law states.
The entire law can be read by visiting http://scstatehouse.gov/code/t23c031.php.
If you want to place a sign prohibiting weapons in your business, Turno said you can purchase a sign or have one made.
“But they need to be made to the specifications of the law and posted to the specifications,” he said.
If you post a sign that's not to the law's specifications, then someone who enters an establishment with a concealed weapon isn't violating the law.
“If you get a sign per the law code, you're going to be OK,” Turno said. “It makes it crystal clear.”
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard.