Every state has its interpretation of the United States Constitution’s Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms. North Carolina’s laws are not particularly unusual, but there are still some crucial details that gun owners need to know to be compliant.
Those not compliant will likely run into legal problems if they are pulled over in their car or otherwise encounter law enforcement. It is also important to remember that North Carolina gun permits are valid here and in other states with reciprocity.
North Carolina is an unconcealed carry state
One of the most important details to remember is that we live in an open-carry state. Gun owners do not need a permit to do this. But there are some rules and exceptions to follow:
- Counties may regulate how owners display their weapons in public areas like public roads, alleys, sidewalks, or public property.
- Gun owners cannot carry a weapon into a school or federal building or onto the State Capitol grounds.
- Owners who openly carry must also be at least 18 years old.
Generally speaking, the best way to transport the gun back and forth to the range is to lock it in the trunk or back of the vehicle – it is not considered concealed if the weapon is put away out of reach of the owner. It is legal to leave the gun on a seat in the open, but the owner will certainly put a patrol on high alert if there is a traffic stop. It is also bad to store the weapon in a glove box because it is in reach and likely will get revealed (if the driver did not already inform the officer of its presence) when the driver gets their registration. It is best to answer law enforcement’s questions truthfully and to carry a valid gun permit – these actions are less likely to escalate a situation.
Rules regarding concealed weapon permits and handguns
Those wishing to purchase a handgun legally must apply for a concealed handgun permit (CHP) at a sheriff’s office. The applicant must state their reason (such as collecting or protection) on the application, which can take up to 30 days to process. CHP applicants must take a special state-approved gun safety course to get the permit – active military personnel is not exempt.
It should be noted that only state residents are allowed to buy handguns here. There are also several disqualifiers such as a felony conviction, a recent DWI charge or documented mental health issues.
Intent is key
Judges and law enforcement will often look at the gun owner’s intent in carrying the weapon to determine compliance. The best way to avoid legal trouble is to be law-abiding, honest and forthright. Lying to law enforcement about a gun can lead to misunderstandings or serious charges.