South Carolina              
Administrative Law Court
Edgar A. Brown building 1205 Pendleton St., Suite 224 Columbia, SC 29201 Voice: (803) 734-0550

SC Administrative Law Court Decisions

A.W. Barnhill vs. SCLED

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division

A.W. Barnhill

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division

For Petitioner:
A.W. Barnhill, Pro Se

For Respondent:
Natalie Armstrong, Esquire



This matter is before the Administrative Law Court (ALC or Court) for a final order and decision following a contested case hearing pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31-215(D) (Supp. 2007), S.C. Code Ann. §§ 1-23-310 et seq. (2007), and S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600(B) (Supp. 2007). Petitioner, A.W. Barnhill (Petitioner), applied for a concealed weapon permit pursuant to S.C. Code Ann. §§ 23-31-205 et seq. Respondent South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) denied the application pursuant to § 23-31-215(B). After timely notice to the parties, a hearing in this matter was held on October 28, 2008, at the ALC in Columbia, South Carolina.


Having carefully considered all testimony, exhibits, and arguments presented at the hearing in this matter, and taking into account the credibility and accuracy of the evidence, I find the following facts by a preponderance of the evidence:

Petitioner, A.W. Barnhill, is over the age of twenty-one and a resident of Marion County, South Carolina. He runs a small business which frequently stays open late. After closing he then must take money to the bank. Therefore, he is seeking to carry a gun with him for protection at his business and home.

As part of the application process, Petitioner is required to answer the following question: “Have you ever plead guilty, been found guilty, paid a fine, forfeited bond, been jailed or placed on probation for any offense?” In response to this question, Petitioner checked the box for “yes.” However, upon receiving his application, SLED performed a background check on Petitioner which indicated that Petitioner pled guilty to assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature in 1980. Petitioner was sentenced to ten years, suspended to three years probation for that conviction. Petitioner completed his probation and has not been in any trouble since. As a result the above, Petitioner’s application for a concealed weapon permit was denied by SLED.


Based upon the above Findings of Fact, I conclude the following as a matter of law:

1. S.C. Code Ann. § 23-31-215(D) (Supp. 2007) and S.C. Code Ann. § 1-23-600(B) (2007) grant jurisdiction to this Court to hear this contested case.

2. SLED is required to conduct a background check of an applicant for a concealed weapon permit upon submission of required information and proof of training. S.C. Code Ann.

§ 23-31-215(B) (Supp. 2006). If an applicant’s fingerprint and background checks are favorable, SLED must issue a permit to the applicant. Id. However, if SLED determines that an applicant’s background is unfavorable, SLED may deny the permit and shall issue a written statement to the applicant specifying its reasons for denying the permit. Id.

3. Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm by a person who has been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year:

It shall be unlawful for any person—

(1) who has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;

to ship or transport in interstate or foreign commerce, or possess in or affecting commerce, any firearm or ammunition; or to receive any firearm or ammunition which has been shipped or transported in interstate or foreign commerce.

18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(1). In this case, Petitioner’s criminal background record reflects that he was convicted of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature for which he received a ten year sentenced suspended to three years probation. Based upon his record and applicable federal law, it is highly probable that Petitioner’s possession of a firearm would place him in direct violation of federal law. The Court recognizes the importance of Petitioner obtaining the concealed weapon permit for his protection, especially in light of the facts of this case. However, the Court cannot ignore the legal implications of Petitioner’s criminal record upon his right to possess a firearm. Though Petitioner appears to be a very responsible individual, the ramification of approving his concealed weapon permit would be to authorize a person prohibited from possessing a firearm to carry a firearm. Accordingly, Petitioner’s application for a concealed weapon permit is denied.


IT IS HEREBY ORDERED that Petitioner’s application for a concealed weapon permit is DENIED.



Ralph King Anderson, III

Administrative Law Judge

November 7, 2008

Columbia, South Carolina


Brown Bldg.






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