FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More

North Carolina Gun Laws

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Introduction

North Carolina is bordered to the north by Virginia, to the west by Tennessee, to the southwest by Georgia, and to the south by South Carolina. Being bordered on the east by the Atlantic Ocean, there is a wide range of elevation in the state from the coast to the mountains. Open carry is generally legal in North Carolina even without a license to carry, but some localities restrict it.

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A. State Constitution

Regarding the right to bear arms, the North Carolina Constitution states:

“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; and, as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they shall not be maintained, and the military shall be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power.  Nothing herein shall justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from enacting penal statutes against that practice.”

[http://gunla.ws/nc1]

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B. Scope of Preemption

The controlling language of the North Carolina preemption statute is set forth as follows:

“It is declared by the General Assembly that the regulation of firearms is properly an issue of general, statewide concern, and that the entire field of regulation of firearms is preempted from regulation by local governments except as provided by this section.”

[http://gunla.ws/nc2]

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C. Reciprocal Carry

By statute, North Carolina will recognize another state’s license to carry.

§ 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.

(b) Repealed by Session Laws 2011‑268, s. 22(a), effective December 1, 2011.

(c) Every 12 months after the effective date of this subsection, the Department of Justice shall make written inquiry of the concealed handgun permitting authorities in each other state as to: (i) whether a North Carolina resident may carry a concealed handgun in their state based upon having a valid North Carolina concealed handgun permit and (ii) whether a North Carolina resident may apply for a concealed handgun permit in that state based upon having a valid North Carolina concealed handgun permit. The Department of Justice shall attempt to secure from each state permission for North Carolina residents who hold a valid North Carolina concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun in that state, either on the basis of the North Carolina permit or on the basis that the North Carolina permit is sufficient to permit the issuance of a similar license or permit by the other state.  (2003‑199, s. 1; 2011‑268, s. 22(a).) [http://gunla.ws/14415]

Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the North Carolina AG at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur. States add and delete states with reciprocity agreements over time. North Carolina’s reciprocity agreement can be viewed online. [http://gunla.ws/rw5b]

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D. Duty to Inform Officers

Yes. North Carolina requires holders of permit or license to carry who are approached or addressed by a LEO to inform the Officer that they possess a firearm  and provide the Officer with their permit and identification. [http://gunla.ws/m90a]

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E. NFA Items

North Carolina permits ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law. It is legal to use suppressors for hunting. CLEOs are required to sign an application for the transfer of any item regulated under the NFA within 15 days if the applicant is not prohibited by law from receiving it. [http://gunla.ws/e494]

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F. Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

North Carolina permits anyone who is legally allowed to possess a firearm to carry it openly in a motor vehicle without a permit, as long as it is readily visible from outside.  Concealed carry requires a permit. A handgun is concealed in a vehicle if a person approaching cannot readily see it and if it is readily accessible. A handgun under the front seat or in an unlocked glove box or console is illegal. A handgun openly displayed or in a locked glove box, locked console, or in the trunk is lawful. [http://gunla.ws/nc3]

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G. Self-defense Laws

North Carolina has both Castle Doctrine and SYG laws.  There is no duty to retreat from any place You have a legal right to be. You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, or to stop the unlawful & forcible entry into Your dwelling, place of business, or occupied motor vehicle. [http://gunla.ws/nc4]

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H. Criminal Provisions

Under North Carolina law, it shall be unlawful for any person willfully and intentionally to carry concealed about his person any pistol or gun except in the following circumstances:

(1) The person is on the person’s own premises

(2) The deadly weapon is a handgun, the person has a concealed handgun permit issued in accordance with Article 54B of this Chapter or considered valid under G.S. 14‑415.24, and the person is carrying the concealed handgun in accordance with the scope of the concealed handgun permit as set out in G.S. 14‑415.11I.

[http://gunla.ws/nc3]

Under North Carolina law, a license to carry a handgun is not valid in any of the following places or circumstances, whether it is issued by North Carolina, or a person is carrying pursuant to a reciprocity agreement between his or her state of license and North Carolina:

  • While participating in, affiliated with, or present as a spectator at:
    • A picket line
    • A demonstration at a private health care facility or public place owned by the State (or political subdivisions)
  • On educational property or to a curricular or extracurricular activity sponsored by a school, unless kept in a closed container in a locked automobile in the parking lot of a public institution of higher learning
  • In any place where a ‘no guns’ sign is posted
  • Hunting on Sunday, with any firearm
  • Note: weapons on certain State property and in courthouses, as stated above, is unlawful. This rule, however, does not apply to any of the following:  A person with a permit issued in accordance with Article 54B of this Chapter or considered valid under G.S. 14‑415.24 who has a firearm in a closed compartment or container within the person’s locked vehicle or in a locked container securely affixed to the person’s vehicle. A person may unlock the vehicle to enter or exit the vehicle provided the firearm remains in the closed compartment at all times and the vehicle is locked immediately following the entrance or exit.
  • In a law enforcement or correctional facility
  • A permit is required in order to purchase a handgun, and You must pass a background check to obtain this permit

For a list of places where carrying firearms is prohibited, see:

[http://gunla.ws/nc5]

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I. Do “No Gun Signs” Have the Force of Law?

Yes. A permit does not authorize a person to carry a concealed handgun 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. Failure to obey such signs or verbal warnings constitutes trespass.

[http://gunla.ws/4beh]

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J. Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes, so long as You possess a Permit/License. You can carry a concealed firearm into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol unless a “No Guns Sign” is posted or the owner or manager informs You that guns are prohibited. You are prohibited from carrying while You consume alcohol or are under the influence of alcohol. [http://gunla.ws/37ea]

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K. Open Carry

Open carry is legal, but local governments have some limited authority to restrict firearms in some locations. Whether these local ordinances violate the State’s firearm preemption laws has not yet been tested in North Carolina courts. Places as listed in the “Criminal Provisions” above apply to those who open carry. The minimum age for open carry is 18.

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L. Background Checks

A person acquiring a handgun must have either a permit to purchase a handgun or a concealed handgun permit. A background check is required to obtain either of these permits. A background check is not required for the sale of long guns. [http://gunla.ws/hf99]

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FIND GUN LAWS BY STATE

Table of Contents

About the author
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Bryan L. Ciyou is a trial and appellate attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. He earned his BA with distinction and graduated through the honors program, along with his JD,... Read More