Gun laws in North Carolina

Gun laws in North Carolina regulate the sale, possession, and use of firearms and ammunition in the U.S. state of North Carolina.[1][2]

Location of North Carolina in the United States

North Carolina is generally considered a permissive state for firearms owners, with no state-imposed restrictions on "assault weapons", no magazine capacity restrictions, no caliber restrictions, and few restrictions on the open carrying of firearms. North Carolina maintains concealed carry reciprocity with other states.[3]

Summary tableEdit

Subject/Law Long Guns Hand Guns Relevant Statutes Notes
State permit required to purchase? No Yes § 14-402
§ 14-403
For handguns, a Pistol Purchase Permit (issued by the sheriff in the county of one's residence) or a North Carolina-issued Concealed Handgun Permit is required. Presenting either of these exempts the buyer from the on-the-spot NICS background check.
Firearm registration? No No
Assault weapon law? No No
Magazine capacity restriction? No No
Owner license required? No No
Permit required for concealed carry? N/A Yes § 14-269
§§ 14-415.10 to 14-415.27
North Carolina is a "shall issue" state for citizens and lawful permanent residents who are 21 years or older.
Permit required for open carry? No No § 160A-189 May carry openly without permit. The preemption laws do not encompass open carry, and some municipalities have banned it.
Castle Doctrine/Stand Your Ground law? Yes Yes § 14-51.3
State preemption of local restrictions? Yes Yes § 14-409.40
§ 14-415.23
Municipalities may ban firearms from government buildings.
NFA weapons restricted? No No § 14-288.8
§ 14-409
Shall certify? Yes Yes § 14-409.41 Shall certify within 15 days.
Peaceable Journey laws? No No
Background checks required for private sales? No Yes § 14-402 For all handgun transfers, a Pistol Purchase Permit (issued by the sheriff in the county of one's residence) or a North Carolina-issued Concealed Handgun Permit is required.
Duty to inform? No Yes § 14-415.11(a)

Common lawEdit

North Carolina is a common law state.[4] Appearing in a public place, armed with a firearm, may be an affray at common law depending on the circumstances.[5] In State v. Huntley (1843), it was ruled, in part:

It has been remarked that a double-barrel gun, or any other gun, cannot in this country come under the description of "unusual weapons," for there is scarcely a man in the community who does not own and occasionally use a gun of some sort. But we do not feel the force of this criticism. A gun is an "unusual weapon," wherewith to be armed and clad. No man amongst us carries it about with him, as one of his every day accoutrements—as a part of his dress—and never, we trust, will the day come when any deadly weapon will be worn or wielded in our peace-loving and law-abiding State, as an appendage of manly equipment. But although a gun is an "unusual weapon," it is to be remembered that the carrying of a gun, per se, constitutes no (sic) offence. For any lawful purpose—either of business or amusement—the citizen is at perfect liberty to carry his gun. It is the wicked purpose, and the mischievous result, which essentially constitute the crime. He shall not carry about this or any other weapon of death to terrify and alarm, and in such manner as naturally will terrify and alarm a peaceful people'[6]

Because of State v. Huntley, and other court rulings,[5] caution is urged as to the areas a person frequents with firearms.[7]

Automatic rifles and machine gunsEdit

NFA weapons such as registered fully automatic firearms, short-barreled shotguns, and suppressors are legal to own by private citizens in North Carolina so long as ATF regulations are followed.[8]

ATF requires the transfer of fully automatic weapons to be in compliance with State and Local laws. North Carolina General Statute 14-409 Machine Guns and Other Like Weapons, first established in 1933,[citation needed] states “It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to manufacture, sell, give away, dispose of, use or possess machine guns, submachine guns, or other like weapons…”.[9] The statute goes further to outline seven specific exceptions allowing for the lawful possession of such weapons in the state of North Carolina:

  • Banks, merchants, and recognized business establishments for use in their respective places of business,who shall first apply to and receive from the sheriff of the county in which said business is located, a permit to possess the said weapons for the purpose of defending the said business;
  • United States Army, when in discharge of their official duties;
  • Officers and soldiers of the militia when called into actual service;
  • Officers of the State, or of any county, city or town … when acting in the discharge of their official duties;
  • The manufacture, use or possession of such weapons for scientific or experimental purposes;
  • Resident of this State who now owns a machine gun used in former wars, as a relic or souvenir may retain and keep same as his or her property.
  • A person who lawfully possesses or owns a weapon in compliance with 26 U.S.C. Chapter 53, §§ 5801-5871.[9]

Any other possession or use of fully automatic weapons in North Carolina is unlawful.

Acquiring a handgunEdit

To acquire a handgun in North Carolina (including private sales, gifts, and inheritance) an individual must go to the county sheriff's office in the county in which they reside and obtain a pistol purchase permit. This is not required if one has a concealed handgun permit.[10] State law requires the applicant to appear in person with government ID, pay a $5 fee, undergo a background check similar in scope and scrutiny to NICS, and have a reason for owning a pistol (hunting, target shooting, self defense, or collecting). Because there are 100 different counties in North Carolina, there are different sets of rules and requirements for obtaining such a permit, which can be determined arbitrarily by the local sheriff. Some sheriffs impose other restrictions such as a limit on the number of permits applied for at a time, waiting periods, and/or proof of good moral character (a witness or references, in some cases notarized with affidavits).[11][12][13][14][15] The Pistol Purchase requirements are a holdover from Jim Crow laws that were designed to prevent African-Americans and other minorities from easily obtaining handguns.[16]

In accordance to North Carolina Law, no county or local government can require handgun registration.[16]

In North Carolina, it is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to sell, give away, transfer, purchase, or receive, at any place in the state, any pistol, unless the purchaser or receiver has first obtained a license or permit to receive such a pistol by the sheriff of the county where the purchaser or receiver resides, or the purchaser or receiver possesses a valid North Carolina issued concealed carry permit.[10] To obtain a permit prior to the transfer of a pistol applies not only to a commercial transaction typically at a sporting goods store but also between private individuals or companies throughout North Carolina.[10]

Under N.C.G.S. 14-402, a county sheriff is only authorized to issue a permit to receive or purchase a handgun when an application is submitted by a person who is a resident of his or her particular county.[10] The sole exception is that the sheriff may issue a permit to a non-resident when the purpose of the permit is collecting. Before issuing a permit, the sheriff must fully satisfy himself/herself by affidavits, oral evidence, or otherwise, that the applicant is of good moral character and that the person, firm, or corporation wants to possess the weapon for one of the following purposes: The protection of the applicant's home, business, person, family, or property; target shooting; collection; or hunting.[10] The sheriff must also verify by a criminal history background investigation that it is not a violation of the state or federal law for the applicant to purchase, transfer, receive, or possess a handgun.[10] In order to determine criminal history of the applicant, the sheriff must access the computerized criminal history records maintained by the State and Federal Bureaus of Investigation, by conducting a national criminal history records check, and by conducting a criminal history check through the Administrative Office of the Courts.[10]

North Carolina State law further states that a permit may not be issued to the following persons: An applicant who is under indictment, or has been convicted in any state, of a felony (other than an offense pertaining to anti-trust violations, unfair trade practices, or restraints of trade). However, a person who has been convicted of a felony and is later pardoned may obtain a permit, if the purchase or receipt of the pistol does not violate the conditions of the pardon. Others that may not be issued a permit are fugitives from justice; the applicant is an unlawful user of or addicted to marijuana, any depressant, stimulant, or narcotic drug; the applicant has been adjudicated incompetent or has been committed to any mental institution; the applicant is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States; the applicant has been discharged from the U.S. armed forces under dishonorable conditions; the applicant, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced their citizenship; the applicant is subject to a court order that: 1. was issued after a hearing of which the applicant received actual notice, and at which the applicant has an opportunity to participate; 2. restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of the person or child of the intimate partner of the person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and includes a finding that the person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the intimate partner or child; or by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the intimate partner or child that would reasonable be expected to cause bodily injury.[10]

Concealed carryEdit

Concealed carry exemptions summary tableEdit

Carry ability / Person CHP holder Local, fed & state LEOs Retired LE LE (off-duty) Detention & correction State corrections (off-duty) Dist. / Sup. Court judge & Magistrate DA, ADA or investigator Armed forces (official duty) NG (in service) Clerk of court & register of deed State probation & parole DPS employee Admin. law judge US LE officer US civil enforcement officer PPSB armed security
Must complete approved firearms safety course Yes No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes Yes No No No
Must inform they are carrying a concealed firearm when addressed by LEO Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
On private premises where there is notice that carrying a concealed handgun prohibited No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Private/public educational property No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Premises where fee charged for admission No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Parade / funeral / picket line or demonstration on healthcare facility or public place owned by state or city No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
State capitol building, Executive Mansion, governor or General Court of Justice grounds No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
State legislative buildings / associated property No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
In a building housing only State or federal offices No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
In an office of State / federal government not located in a building exclusively occupied by them No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
State owned rest area / fishing / hunting reservation No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Grounds / waters of State Park system No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No

Eligibility requirementsEdit

Under NCGS 14-415.12 "the sheriff shall issue a permit to an applicant if the applicant qualifies under the following criteria":[17]

  • The applicant is a citizen of the United States or has been lawfully admitted for permanent residence as defined in 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(20), and has been a resident of the State 30 days or longer immediately preceding the filing of the application (exceptions also exist under 18 US Code S. 922 which allow non-immigrants to purchase a firearm)
  • The applicant is 21 years of age or older.
  • The applicant does not suffer from a physical or mental infirmity that prevents the safe handling of a handgun
  • The applicant has successfully completed an approved firearms safety and training course which involves the actual firing of handguns and instruction in the laws of this State governing the carrying of a concealed handgun and the use of deadly force. Sworn law enforcement, qualified retired law enforcement/corrections/parole/probation or a certified armed security guard are exempt from this course requirement.[18] The North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission (NCCJETSC) shall prepare and publish general guidelines for courses and qualifications of instructors which would satisfy the requirements of this subdivision. An approved course shall be any course which satisfies the requirements of this subdivision and is certified or sponsored by:
  1. The North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission,
  2. The National Rifle Association, or
  3. A law enforcement agency, college, private or public institution or organization, or firearms training school, taught by instructors certified by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission (NCCJETSC) or the National Rifle Association.
  • The applicant is not disqualified under subsection (b) of this section (see ineligibility requirements)

Once the above conditions are met, the Sheriff of the relevant County shall issue the permit as North Carolina is a "shall issue" state.

Instructors for these handgun safety classes must be certified by the North Carolina Department of Justice. The Concealed Carry Handgun Safety Class is regulated to be a minimum of eight hours long and must include a written test on state laws pertaining to the use of deadly force, and restrictions on the locations a handgun may be carried in a concealed fashion. In addition, the applicant must shoot a designated course of fire and obtain a passing score. A concealed handgun permit is valid for a period of five years.

Ineligibility requirementsEdit

The sheriff shall deny a permit to an applicant who:[17]

(1) Is ineligible to own, possess, or receive a firearm under the provisions of State or federal law.
(2) Is under indictment or against whom a finding of probable cause exists for a felony.
(3) Has been adjudicated guilty in any court of a felony, unless:

(i) the felony is an offense that pertains to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, or restraints of trade, or
(ii) the person's firearms rights have been restored pursuant to G.S. 14-415.4.

(4) Is a fugitive from justice.
(5) Is an unlawful user of, or addicted to marijuana, alcohol, or any depressant, stimulant, or narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance as defined in 21 U.S.C. § 802.
(6) Is currently, or has been previously adjudicated by a court or administratively determined by a governmental agency whose decisions are subject to judicial review to be, lacking mental capacity or mentally ill. Receipt of previous consultative services or outpatient treatment alone shall not disqualify an applicant under this subdivision.
(7) Is or has been discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States under conditions other than honorable.
(8) Except as provided in subdivision (8a), (8b), or (8c) of this section, is or has been adjudicated guilty of or received a prayer for judgment continued or suspended sentence for one or more crimes of violence constituting a misdemeanor, including but not limited to, a violation of a misdemeanor under Article 8 of Chapter 14 of the NCGS except for a violation of G.S. 14-33(a), or a violation of a misdemeanor under G.S. 14-226.1, 4-258.1, 14-269.2, 14-269.3, 14-269.4, 14-269.6, 14-277, 14-277.1, 14-277.2, 14-283 except for a violation involving fireworks exempted under G.S. 14-414, 14-288.2, 14-288.4(a)(1), 14-288.6, 14-288.9, former 14-288.12, former 14-288.13, former 14-288.14, 14-415.21(b), or 14-415.26(d) within three years prior to the date on which the application is submitted.
(8a) Is or has been adjudicated guilty of or received a prayer for judgment continued or suspended sentence for one or more crimes of violence constituting a misdemeanor under G.S. 14-33(c)(1), 14-33(c)(2), 14-33(c)(3), 14-33(d), 14-277.3A, 14-318.2, 14-134.3, 50B-4.1, or former G.S. 14-277.3.
(8b) Is prohibited from possessing a firearm pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) as a result of a conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.
(8c) Has been adjudicated guilty of or received a prayer for judgment continued or suspended sentence for one or more crimes involving an assault or a threat to assault a law enforcement officer, probation or parole officer, person employed at a State or local detention facility, firefighter, emergency medical technician, medical responder, or emergency department personnel.
(9) Has had entry of a prayer for judgment continued for a criminal offense which would disqualify the person from obtaining a concealed handgun permit.
(10) Is free on bond or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for a crime which would disqualify him from obtaining a concealed handgun permit.
(11) Has been convicted of an impaired driving offense under G.S. 20-138.1, 20-138.2, or 20-138.3 within three years prior to the date on which the application is submitted.
(c) An applicant shall not be ineligible to receive a concealed carry permit under subdivision (6) of subsection (b) of this section because of an adjudication of mental incapacity or illness or an involuntary commitment to mental health services if the individual's rights have been restored under G.S. 14-409.42. (1995, c. 398, s. 1; c. 509, s. 135.3(d); 1997-441, s. 4; 2007-427, s. 5; 2008-210, s. 3(b); 2009-58, s. 1; 2010-108, s. 5; 2011-2, s. 1; 2011-183, s. 16; 2012-12, s. 2(bb); 2013-369, s. 11; 2015-195, ss. 7, 11(l), 17.)

It is a non-criminal violation of the law (infraction) for an individual to fail to disclose to a law enforcement officer that he has a concealed handgun on/about his person "when approached or addressed by the officer" or to provide the concealed handgun permit when required.[19]

Scope of concealed carry permitEdit

The following restrictions and conditions for concealed carry are set out in the Chapter 14-415.11[20] of the NC General Statutes:

  • The person shall carry the permit together with valid identification whenever the person is carrying a concealed handgun
  • The person shall disclose to any law enforcement officer that the person holds a valid permit and is carrying a concealed handgun when approached or addressed by the officer, and shall display both the permit and the proper identification upon the request
  • Except as provided in G.S. 14-415.27[21](expanded permit scope for certain persons), a permit does not authorize a person to carry a concealed handgun in any of the following:
  1. Areas prohibited by G.S. 14-269.2 (various educational public or private property - unless person has a CHP & stored in vehicle), 14-269.3 (into any assembly where a fee has been charged for admission or any establishment where alcoholic beverages are sold & consumed - unless person has a CHP), and 14-277.2 (present or spectator at parade, funeral procession, picket line, or demonstration upon any private health care facility or upon any public place owned/controlled by the State or a city etc - unless person has a CHP)
  2. Areas prohibited by G.S. 14-269.4 (state capitol building, Executive Mansion, western resident of governor or on grounds/building housing any court of the General Court of Justice) except as allowed under G.S. 14-269.4(6)(CHP holders may store the firearm on the above property if in a container/compartment in a locked vehicle)
  3. In an area prohibited by rule adopted under G.S. 120-32.1 (state legislative buildings and associated property)
  4. In any area prohibited by 18 U.S.C. § 922 or any other federal law
  5. In a law enforcement or correctional facility
  6. In a building housing only State or federal offices
  7. In an office of the State or federal government that is not located in a building exclusively occupied by the State or federal government
  8. On any private premises where notice that carrying a concealed handgun is prohibited by the posting of a conspicuous notice or statement by the person in legal possession or control of the premises
  • Any person who has a concealed handgun permit may carry a concealed handgun on the grounds or waters of a park within the State Parks System as defined in G.S. 143B-135.44[22]
  • It shall be unlawful for a person, with or without a permit, to carry a concealed handgun while consuming alcohol or at any time while the person has remaining in the person's body any alcohol or in the person's blood a controlled substance previously consumed, but a person does not violate this condition if a controlled substance in the person's blood was lawfully obtained and taken in therapeutically appropriate amounts or if the person is on the person's own property
  • As provided in G.S. 14-269.4(5),[23] it shall be lawful for a person to carry any firearm openly, or to carry a concealed handgun with a concealed carry permit, at any State-owned rest area, at any State-owned rest stop along the highways, and at any State-owned hunting and fishing reservation
  • A person who is issued a permit shall notify the sheriff who issued the permit of any change in the person's permanent address within 30 days after the change of address. If a permit is lost or destroyed, the person to whom the permit was issued shall notify the sheriff who issued the permit of the loss or destruction of the permit. A person may obtain a duplicate permit by submitting to the sheriff a notarized statement that the permit was lost or destroyed and paying the required duplicate permit fee.
  • This subsection shall not be construed to permit a person to carry a concealed handgun on any premises where the person in legal possession or control of the premises has posted a conspicuous notice prohibiting the carrying of a concealed handgun on the premises in accordance with G.S. 14-415.11(c)[24]

Furthermore, it is a Class I Felony for any person knowingly to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any gun, rifle, pistol, or other firearm of any kind on educational property or to a curricular or extracurricular activity sponsored by a school(G.S. 14-269.2).[25]

It is also unlawful for a person to arm himself or herself with a gun for the purpose of terrifying others[note 1] and go about so on public highways in a manner to cause terror.[10]

Law enforcement, military & other individuals - permit scope expansionsEdit

In addition to the requirement to complete a certified conceal carry handgun safety course, the following individuals are able to carry - a handgun in certain circumstances currently prohibited for a civilian CHP holder (unless otherwise prohibited by federal law.[26][27] The definitions of each are defined under NCGS Chapter 14 Article 54B[28].

  • Officers and enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces of the US when in discharge of their official duties as such and acting under orders requiring them to carry arms and weapons
  • Civil & law enforcement officers of the United States
  • Officers and soldiers of the militia and the National Guard when called into actual service
  • A member of the North Carolina National Guard who has been designated by Adjutant General who has a CHP and acting in discharge of official duties, provided the member does not carry a concealed weapon while consuming alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance or while alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance remains in the member's body
  • Officers of the State, or of any county, city, town, or company police agency charged with the execution of the laws of the State, when acting in the discharge of their official duties
  • A district attorney, assistant district attorney or an investigator employed by the office of a district attorney and who has a CHP provided the person shall not carry a concealed weapon at any time while in a courtroom or while consuming alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance or while alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance remains in the person's body
  • A qualified retired law enforcement officer as defined in G.S. 14-415.10 and meets any one of the following: the holder of a CHP or is exempt from obtaining a permit pursuant to G.S. 14-415.25 (federal law enforcement) or certified by the NC CJE&TSC pursuant to G.S. 14-415.26
  • Detention personnel or correctional officers officers employed by the State or a unit of local government
  • NC district court judge, NC Superior Court judge, or a NC magistrate and who has a CHP provided the person shall not carry a concealed weapon at any time while consuming alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance or while alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance remains in the person's body
  • A person serving as a clerk of court or as a register of deeds and who has a CHP provided that the person shall not carry a concealed weapon at any time while consuming alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance or while alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance remains in the person's body
  • Sworn law-enforcement officers, when off-duty, provided that an officer does not carry a concealed weapon while consuming alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance or while alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance remains in the officer's body
  • State probation or parole certified officers, when off-duty, provided that an officer does not carry a concealed weapon while consuming alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance or while alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance remains in the officer's body
  • Person employed by the Department of Public Safety who has been designated by the Secretary of the Department, who has a CHP and has in person's possession proof of the designation by the Secretary of the Department, provided that the person shall not carry a concealed weapon at any time while consuming alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance or while alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance remains in the person's body
  • An administrative law judge described in Article 60 of Chapter 7A of the NCGS and who has a CHP provided that the person shall not carry a concealed weapon at any time while consuming alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance or while alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance remains in the person's body
  • State correctional officers, when off-duty, provided that an officer does not carry a concealed weapon while consuming alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance or while alcohol or an unlawful controlled substance remains in the officer's body

NCGS 14-415.11 creates the following exemptions to allow lawful carry for the above individuals:[29]

  • Areas prohibited by G.S. 14-269.2 (various educational public or private property), 14-269.3 (into any assembly where a fee has been charged for admission or any establishment where alcoholic beverages are sold & consumed), and 14-277.2 (present or spectator at parade, funeral procession, picket line, or demonstration upon any private health care facility or upon any public place owned/controlled by the State or a city etc)
  • Areas prohibited by G.S. 14-269.4 (state capitol building, Executive Mansion, western resident of governor or on grounds/building housing any court of the General Court of Justice)
  • In an area prohibited by rule adopted under G.S. 120-32.1 (state legislative buildings and associated property)
  • In any area prohibited by 18 U.S.C. § 922 or any other federal law
  • In a law enforcement or correctional facility
  • In a building housing only State or federal offices
  • In an office of the State or federal government that is not located in a building exclusively occupied by the State or federal government
  • On any private premises where notice that carrying a concealed handgun is prohibited by the posting of a conspicuous notice or statement by the person in legal possession or control of the premises

Permit reciprocityEdit

Effective December 1, 2011, North Carolina automatically recognizes concealed carry permits issued in any other state.[30]

§ 14-415.24. Reciprocity; out-of-state handgun permits

(a) A valid concealed handgun permit or license issued by another state is valid in North Carolina.[31]

The above subsection of this statute previously gave reciprocity only when the state the permit was from also gave reciprocity,[32] but this requirement was repealed under Session Laws 2011-268, s. 22(a) on December 1, 2011.[33] This session also removed the need for the Attorney General to maintain a database of states that meet the requirements of an NC permit.

Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004Edit

The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004 is a federal law that allows out-of-state sworn law enforcement officers to carry concealed handguns in all states. These out-of-state law enforcement officers may carry in certain areas of North Carolina as long as they are a qualified officer of a governmental agency. They must also be authorized by law to enforce criminal laws with the statutory powers of arrest and be authorized to carry firearms with their agency. The officer must carry valid photo identification as an officer. In North Carolina, the out-of-state officer may not carry in either public or private areas where the possession of firearms is prohibited. Certain qualified retired officers may also be eligible to carry concealed handguns in North Carolina.[10]

Case lawEdit

Various case law has been ruled on in NC clarifying the interpretation of concealed carry law. North Carolina v. McManus (1883) stated a weapon concealed on or "about his person" was still in violation of the law. It was held that a weapon concealed within immediate reach and control of a defendant, is a considered a concealed weapon for the purpose of the law.[34]

In State v. Gainey (1968), the appeals court found that a firearm concealed within the passenger compartment of a vehicle is not necessarily immediately available if the circumstances dictate.[35]

State v. Soles (2008) held that a firearm concealed inside a backpack could not be deemed as such because the state did not present enough evidence to show this and a conviction is made beyond all reasonable doubt, not on an assumption.[36][37]

Local government restrictions limited by stateEdit

In 2015, the state legislature set out to make the local gun laws in North Carolina more uniform across the board. They acknowledged the need for local governments prohibit firearms in local government buildings, but they also restricted a local government's ability to prohibit on "municipal and county recreational facilities that are specifically identified by the unit of local government".[38]

The bill states that no political subdivision, boards or agencies of the State or any city, county, municipality, etc may enact rules, ordinances or regulations concerning the legal carry of a concealed handgun.[39] The bill does, however, state "that a unit of local government may adopt an ordinance to permit the posting of a prohibition against the concealed carry of a handgun in accordance with NCGS § 14-415.11(c)"[39] (places where concealed carry is prohibited and exemptions).[40]

It also states that "A unit of local government may also adopt an ordinance to prohibit, by posting, the carrying of a concealed handgun on municipal and county recreational facilities that are specifically identified by the unit of local government. If a unit of local government adopts such an ordinance with regard to recreational facilities, then the concealed handgun permittee may lawfully secure the handgun in a locked vehicle within the trunk, glove box," etc.[39]

NCGS § 14-415.23 Statewide uniformity identifies 'recreational facilities' specifically as:[39]

(c) For purposes of this section, the term "recreational facilities" includes only the following:

(1) An athletic field, including any appurtenant facilities such as restrooms, during an organized athletic event if the field had been scheduled for use with the municipality or county office responsible for operation of the park or recreational area.
(2) A swimming pool, including any appurtenant facilities used for dressing, storage of personal items, or other uses relating to the swimming pool.
(3) A facility used for athletic events, including, but not limited to, a gymnasium.

(d) For the purposes of this section, the term "recreational facilities" does not include any greenway, designated biking or walking path, an area that is customarily used as a walkway or bike path although not specifically designated for such use, open areas or fields where athletic events may occur unless the area qualifies as an "athletic field" pursuant to subdivision (1) of subsection (c) of this section, and any other area that is not specifically described in subsection (c) of this section.

Despite this legislation being in place, many buildings still maintain 'gun free zone' signs on the entrances to the property, thus rendering them merely voluntary. Examples of this still being commonplace are Crabtree Creek Trail or buildings within Pullen Park, Raleigh.[citation needed] Some local governments have begun to amend their local ordinances to comply with state law.[41]

Some counties have adopted Second Amendment sanctuary resolutions.[42]

Open carryEdit

Open carry is also legal throughout North Carolina.[43] In the town of Chapel Hill, open carry is restricted to guns of a certain minimum size, under the theory that small, concealable handguns are more often associated with criminal activity. No permit is required to carry a handgun openly in North Carolina. In the court case of State v. Kerner (1921) the defendant ended up getting into some type of confrontation with another man. The defendant walked back to his place of work, got his gun, and then returned to the scene to fight. The defendant ended up being charged with "carrying a concealed weapon" and "carrying his pistol off his premises unconcealed",[44] which violated a local act applicable to Forsyth County and ended up being a misdemeanor. The defendant was taken to trial and the trial judge then dismissed the charge as unconstitutional. The state then appealed, and the supreme court affirmed. During court, the court stated at the beginning that the Second Amendment did not apply, because "the first ten amendments to the United States Constitution are restrictions on the federal authority and not the states". Therefore, with that being said, it focused more on the state constitution. The state constitution states that: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed." The court viewed the provision as protecting the right to carry arms in public. Although the case of State v. Kerner helped make more clear the allowance of openly carrying a pistol, it does not preclude all regulations regarding the carrying of firearms.[45]

On September 1, 2020, the town council of Holly Springs voted to prohibit open carry on town property.[46]

States of emergencyEdit

Changes to North Carolina law, effective October 1, 2012, removed the prohibition on legal gun owners from carrying lawfully possessed firearms during a declared state of emergency via the Emergency Management Act.[47]

Pursuant to North Carolina's Emergency Management Act (Chapter 166A of the General Statutes) local governments may impose restrictions on dangerous weapons such as explosives, incendiary devices, and radioactive materials and devices when a state of emergency is declared but may not impose restrictions on lawfully possessed firearms.[48]:30

Prior to October 1, 2012,[49] firearms could not be legally transported or possessed off of one's own premises during a declared state of emergency or in the immediate vicinity of a riot, except for law enforcement and military personnel in the performance of their duties.[50] On March 29, 2012, the provision barring the carry and possession of a firearm during a declared state of emergency was declared unconstitutional by a US Federal Court (No. 5:10-CV-265-H (E.D.N.C. filed March 29, 2012))[51]

Other offensesEdit

Under GS 14.35.1[52] it is a Class 1 misdemeanor to allow the storage of a firearm in a condition it can be discharged and "in a manner that the person knew or should have known that an unsupervised minor would be able to gain access to the firearm" and if the minor carries out certain unlawful acts with it.

See alsoEdit

NotesEdit

^[note 1] The offense is known as "going armed to the terror of the people".[7]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "State Gun Laws: North Carolina", National Rifle Association – Institute for Legislative Action. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  2. ^ "North Carolina State Law Summary", Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  3. ^ "Concealed Handguns Reciprocity". North Carolina Department of Justice. Retrieved August 16, 2019.
  4. ^ "Chapter 4. Common Law. § 4‑1. Common law declared to be in force". NC General Statutes. North Carolina General Assembly. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  5. ^ a b Garland, David Shephard; McGehee, Lucius Polk; Cockcroft, James, eds. (1896). "Affray". The American and English Encyclopedia of Law. 1 (2nd ed.). Edward Thompson Company. pp. 915–918 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ State v. Robert S. Huntley, 25 N.C. 418 (1843).
  7. ^ a b Law Enforcement Liaison Section (February 2014). "North Carolina Firearms Laws". North Carolina Department of Justice. p. 28. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 14, 2014. Retrieved May 12, 2014. Going Armed To The Terror Of The People: By common law in North Carolina, it is unlawful for a person to arm himself/herself with any unusual and dangerous weapon, for the purpose of terrifying others, and go about on public highways in a manner to cause terror to others. The N.C. Supreme Court states that any gun is an unusual and dangerous weapon for purposes of this offense. Therefore, persons are cautioned as to the areas they frequent with firearms.
  8. ^ "Machine Guns & Automatic Firearms in North Carolina". Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. January 1, 2012. Archived from the original on June 13, 2013. Retrieved June 21, 2013.
  9. ^ a b "Article 52A - Sale of Weapons in Certain Counties. § 14-409. Machine guns and other like weapons". NC General Statutes. North Carolina General Assembly. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "North Carolina Firearms Laws" (PDF). North Carolina Department of Justice. December 2011. Archived from the original (PDF) on January 20, 2019.
  11. ^ Gaston County Sheriff's Office – Gun Permit Application Procedures Archived May 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Wake County Sheriff's Office – Obtaining Handgun Permits in Wake County Archived September 27, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "Office of the Orange County Sheriff – Orange County Pistol Permit Application Information" (PDF). Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  14. ^ Ian Worthington (November 23, 2010). "Durham County Government – Pistol Permit Instructions and Application Package". Durhamcountync.gov. Archived from the original on November 29, 2011. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  15. ^ Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office – Gun Permits
  16. ^ a b "North Carolina Rifle & Pistol Association – North Carolina Gun Ownership FAQs". Ncrpa.org. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  17. ^ a b https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/ByArticle/Chapter_14/Article_54B.html
  18. ^ https://www.ncleg.gov/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/BySection/Chapter_14/GS_14-415.12A.pdf
  19. ^ http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/enactedlegislation/statutes/html/bysection/chapter_14/gs_14-415.11.html
  20. ^ https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/ByArticle/Chapter_14/Article_54B.html
  21. ^ https://ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_14/GS_14-415.27.html
  22. ^ https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/ByChapter/Chapter_143B.html
  23. ^ https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_14/GS_14-269.4.html
  24. ^ https://ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_14/GS_14-415.11.html
  25. ^ http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/statutes/statutelookup.pl?statute=14-269.2
  26. ^ https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_14/GS_14-269.html
  27. ^ https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_14/GS_14-415.27.html
  28. ^ https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/ByArticle/Chapter_14/Article_54B.html
  29. ^ https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_14/GS_14-415.11.html
  30. ^ "Concealed Weapons Reciprocity". North Carolina Department of Justice. April 2012. Archived from the original on February 15, 2014.
  31. ^ "Article 54B - Concealed Handgun Permit. § 14-415.24. Reciprocity; out-of-state handgun permits". NC General Statutes. North Carolina General Assembly.
  32. ^ https://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_14/GS_14-415.24.html
  33. ^ https://www.ncleg.net/enactedlegislation/sessionlaws/html/2011-2012/sl2011-268.html
  34. ^ State v. McManus, 89 N.C. 555 (1883).
  35. ^ State v. Gainey, 273 N.C. 620 (1968).
  36. ^ State v. Soles, 662 S.E.2d 564 (N.C. App. 2008).
  37. ^ State v. Soles, 662 S.E.2d 564 (N.C. App. 2008).
  38. ^ "Article 54B - Concealed Handgun Permit. § 14-415.23. Statewide uniformity". NC General Statutes. North Carolina General Assembly.
  39. ^ a b c d "Article 54B - Concealed Handgun Permit. § 14-415.23. Statewide uniformity". NC General Statutes. North Carolina General Assembly.   This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  40. ^ "Article 54B - Concealed Handgun Permit. § 14-415.11. Permit to carry concealed handgun; scope of permit". NC General Statutes. North Carolina General Assembly.
  41. ^ Linville, Jeff (April 4, 2019). "County repeals gun restrictions". Mount Airy News. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  42. ^ Price, Mark (March 15, 2019). "'Gun Sanctuary' movement spreads to NC as county adopts plan to thwart gun control". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  43. ^ "State Information For North Carolina". OpenCarry.org. Retrieved September 22, 2016.
  44. ^ State v. O.W. Kerner, 181 N.C. 574 (1921).
  45. ^ Welty, Jeff (March 5, 2013). "Open Carry". North Carolina Criminal Law: UNC School of Government Blog. Archived from the original on November 6, 2013. Retrieved October 29, 2013.
  46. ^ "Holly Springs town council votes to prohibit open carry on town property". CBS17.com. September 2, 2020. Retrieved September 2, 2020.
  47. ^ "Chapter 166A". www.ncleg.net. Retrieved January 2, 2020.
  48. ^ "North Carolina Firearms Laws". North Carolina Department of Justice. December 2015. Archived from the original on April 25, 2016. Retrieved April 18, 2016.
  49. ^ "§ 14-288.7". NC General Statutes. North Carolina General Assembly. Retrieved August 17, 2019. Repealed by Session Laws 2012-12, s. 2(c), effective October 1, 2012.
  50. ^ "GS 14-288.7. Transporting dangerous weapon or substance during emergency; possessing off premises; exceptions". NC General Statutes. North Carolina General Assembly. Archived from the original on September 18, 2011. Retrieved November 23, 2011.
  51. ^ https://www.sog.unc.edu/sites/www.sog.unc.edu/files/reports/Order%20-%20Bateman%20v%20%20Perdue.pdf
  52. ^ https://law.justia.com/codes/north-carolina/2005/chapter_14/gs_14-315.1.html

Further readingEdit