Weapon Charges

Weapon Charges

Weapon Charge Attorney in the Castle Hayne & Wilmington, NC area

Guns are a hot topic right now. With numerous school shootings, police shootings, and even terrorist acts threatening gun policies, it's more important then ever to know and understand gun laws and your rights regarding guns in North Carolina.

Protecting the Second Amendment and the "right of the people to keep and bear Arms" is at the heart of this issue. And under section 30 of our state constitution, North Carolina also protects North Carolinian's right to bear arms.

Current Concealed Carry Requirements

Currently, the only place you can legally carry a concealed firearm without a permit is your own private property or place of business. Otherwise, you must have your permit on you. If you want to apply for a concealed carry permit, you must fit the following qualifications:

  • You must be at least 21 years old
  • You must be a U.S. citizen
  • You must be a resident of North Carolina for at least 30 days
  • You must not suffer from physical/mental disabilities that will not allow you to safely handle a handgun
  • You must complete an 8-hour firearms safety training course. The course gives you experience using a firearm, as well as information about laws and penalties for concealed carry and the use of deadly force

Once you have received your permit, you are allowed to carry a concealed weapon near or on your person.

Restrictions on Gun Carry

Just because you have that right doesn't mean you always have that right. Depending on your personal background, whether you have a permit, or where you are, you may not be allowed to carry a gun.

For instance, under open carry laws, you don't need to have a permit in order to openly carry a gun. But your gun still has to meet a certain minimum size (long guns must have at least a 16" barrel and be twenty-eight inches or more in length). A concealed handgun, on the other hand, requires a permit - unless you are at your own residence - because small, concealable guns are more likely to be associated with criminal activity or behavior.

So let's look at who can't carry guns, when you can't carry guns, and the penalties associated with a gun violation.

So if you meet all the criteria to carry a gun, then you need to be aware of certain circumstances and situations where it is illegal to carry a gun.

  • Without a concealed carry handgun permit, you cannot carry a concealed gun unless you are on your own property.
  • You can't carry a gun onto school or education property.
  • You cannot carry a gun or weapon into a courthouse or on certain state property.
  • Guns are banned at picket lines or other types of demonstrations. The only exception for this is if a gun is carried on a pickup truck rack.
  • Guns are prohibited during riots, civil disorder, or any other disturbance that has 3 or more people involved.

Additionally, you were previously prohibited from carrying guns into an establishment that sells alcoholic beverages, at a parade, and at a funeral. But a 2013 firearms law now allows concealed weapons as long as they are properly secured.

As far as schools are concerned, certain people are allowed to have a concealed gun on campus or to keep a gun in their locked vehicle. So as long as you have a permit and your gun is concealed, you can bring a gun to a restaurant or bar with alcohol, to a funeral or a parade, and at assemblies where admission is charged.

If, however, the property posts a sign that bans all firearms, making it a gun-free zone, then you are prohibited from bringing a gun onto the premises even if the law technically allows it.

Who Cant Carry A Gun In North Carolina

The laws in North Carolina are clear when it comes to guns, and certain individuals are banned from carrying a weapon - open or concealed. You are prohibited from carrying a gun if you are:

  • Under 21 years of age
  • Not an American citizen
  • Not a North Carolina resident for at least 30 days before filling out a gun application
  • Unable to have a firearm under federal law
  • A convicted felon or under indictment
  • Convicted of certain types of violent crimes, including domestic violence
  • Free on bond and awaiting trial, appeal, or sentencing for a crime that will not allow you to get a permit for a concealed handgun
  • Convicted of driving while impaired (DWI) within 3 years of filling out a gun application
  • A fugitive of the law
  • Addicted to drugs or alcohol or an unlawful user
  • Adjudicated as mentally ill
  • Discharged from the United States armed forces with anything other than honorable conditions

Places Where Firearms Are Prohibited

Unless you are a former or current member of law enforcement, you will not be allowed to carry a gun in the following places:

  • Campus/educational property
  • Establishments where alcohol is sold (this rule does not apply to the owner)
  • Specified state property/courthouses
  • Parade, funeral procession, picket line, other demonstrations
  • Moments of civil disorder, riots, public disturbances involving at least 3 people

Penalties for Violating Gun Laws

It is important to read and review North Carolina's gun restrictions and regulations. Breaking them could forfeit your right to carry a gun.

Did you notice earlier that convicted felons cannot carry a gun? Many gun laws violations are considered felonies. Let's look at common situations and penalties for violating state gun laws:

  • Carrying a gun on restricted state property, at a courthouse, parade, or public demonstration: Class 1 Misdemeanor
  • Carrying a weapon onto educational property: Class I Felony
  • Carrying a weapon during civil disorder: Class H Felony
  • Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit (first offense): Class 2 Misdemeanor
  • Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit (second offense): Class I Felony

If you carry a weapon in North Carolina, it is important to keep yourself updated on changes to gun rights and restrictions. For more help regarding penalties and charges for gun law violations, call a North Carolina criminal lawyer today. Please note, a concealed carry permit is for FIREARMS ONLY. You will not be protected from the charge of carrying a concealed weapon if you have knives, black jacks, loaded canes, brass knuckles, or anything of the like concealed about your person.

The use of a firearm during a commission of a crime makes a defendant eligible for an aggravated sentence and/or federal prosecution brought about by the bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms.