South Carolina Man’s Stockpile Raises Questions About Gun Possession Laws and Search Warrants (Part I)

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Following the arrest of a Pageland, South Carolina man earlier this month, officers discovered a stockpile of firearms on the man’s property – some of which are allegedly stolen guns. Officers in North Carolina arrested the man for allegedly driving a vehicle that was not displaying a valid license plate. At the time of his arrest, officers searched the man’s vehicle and found 20 rifles and 9 handguns. A few of the guns were later alleged to have been stolen.
A few days later, South Carolina law enforcement officers visited the man’s property in South Carolina to serve him with a summons and noticed what appeared to be more stolen goods on the man’s property. Officers then applied for a search warrant and discovered a stockpile of weapons inside the man’s home and other buildings located on the property. Officers believe the man had a “collection” of firearms – some of which are believed to be stolen – consisting of more than 5,000 guns.

Gun Possession Laws in South Carolina

The right of an individual to own a firearm is a topic that has generated a great deal of of public debate, especially in light of the recent terror-related shootings in San Bernardino, California. On the one side, gun rights advocates proclaim an absolute right to gun ownership based on the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Advocates for gun reform counter that many rights contained in the U.S. Constitution (such as the right to freedom of religion and freedom of speech) are regulated by the government and such regulations are routinely upheld.
There are a number of gun-related laws in South Carolina, one of which is codified at Section 16-23-30. Under this section, it is a criminal offense to:

  • Sell, offer to sell, deliver, or lease, a gun to a person (1) who has been convicted of certain violent crimes, who is a fugitive, who has been declared mentally incompetent, and/or who is a “drunkard” or “drug addict”; (2) who is a member of a subversive organization; (3) who is under the age of 18 years; and/or (4) who has been found unfit to carry a firearm by a judge;
  • Possess a firearm if you are a person described above; or
  • Buy, sell, or possess a stolen handgun or a handgun whose original serial number has been removed.

Violating this section is a felony that can result in up to $2,000 in fines and up to 5 years’ imprisonment.

Why It Is Important to Be Represented by Competent Criminal Defense Counsel

It may appear that this man with the alleged stockpile of weapons has clearly violated Section 16-23-30, yet there are facts that are not known which may absolve him of any criminal responsibility. This is why it is important to be represented by an experienced criminal defense attorney: your guilt or innocence can hinge on the existence or absence of a seemingly-minor detail. You want to know when you go to court that your attorney has thoroughly reviewed your case and  circumstances and is prepared to argue forcefully and effectively on your behalf. The Greenville criminal defense attorneys at David R. Price, Jr., P.A., are a knowledgeable and skilled advocates for individuals charged with criminal offenses in South Carolina, including firearm-related offenses. Contact their office to discuss your case by calling (864) 271-2636 today.

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