Of the 10.6 million people who live in North Carolina, approximately 814,000 residents have concealed handgun permits. While the majority of gun owners follow North Carolina weapon laws, there are always some who don’t. In fact, North Carolina has the 17th highest rate of gun crimes and gun-related deaths in the United States.
If you’re facing a weapons charge of any kind in North Carolina, you need aggressive criminal defense from Wilkie Law Firm. We have decades of experience in fighting for clients who are accused of all kinds of crimes, from DWIs to sex crimes to drug offenses. We will stop at nothing to make sure that you receive the best outcome possible in your case. Call our Jacksonville criminal defense law firm today at 910-333-9626 for a consultation.
2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
Under the United States Constitution, Americans have the right to bear arms. The second amendment of the Constitution specifically 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.” As we all know, second amendment rights are incredibly controversial in the United States today. Some Americans believe personal firearms should be outlawed everywhere due to the striking rise in gun violence. Meanwhile, others believe that the rise in gun violence makes personal gun possession even more important. This is why almost every single state in the U.S. has different laws regarding the legality of certain firearms and how they’re carried.
What is an Unregistered Gun?
If you have a gun and you haven’t registered it with local authorities, then it is unregistered. However, only a few states actually require gun registration. North Carolina is not one of these states.
Concealed Carry Rules in North Carolina
Concealed carry rules vary across different states. Six states, including Alaska, Arizona, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, and Wyoming, do not require concealed carry permits. Meanwhile, 35 states, including North Carolina, are “shall issue” states. In other words, these states require those who wish to carry concealed weapons to meet certain requirements such as a background check or an approved firearms training class.
The remaining 9 states are “may issue” states. This means that the states may or may not give a person a permit depending on certain factors, regardless of whether or not they meet state requirements.
Concealed Carry Permit Requirements in NC
In order to qualify for a concealed carry North Carolina permit, you must be:
- At least 21 years old
- A state resident for at least 30 days
- A legal United States citizen for at least 30 days
- Able to pass an approved firearms safety class
However, it’s not always quite that simple. Even if you meet all the aforementioned qualifications, the state could still deny you a valid concealed carry permit if you:
- Have been convicted or indicted for a crime, especially violent crimes like domestic violence in NC
- Are awaiting trial or sentencing for any crime
- Have an impaired driving offense, such as a DUI, from the last three years
- Are an alcoholic or an addict of any kind of controlled substance
- Cannot possess any kind of gun under U.S. or North Carolina law
- Are mentally ill according to the state or federal government
- Cannot safely operate dangerous weapons due to a physical or mental infirmity
- Are lacking mental capacity according to a judicial sentence
- Were dishonorably discharged from the military
When is it Illegal to Concealed Carry?
In North Carolina specifically, carrying concealed weapons is illegal unless:
- You’re a police officer or a military personnel
- You qualified for a concealed carry permit and you have the permit with you
- You’re on property that you own
Can I Open Carry in North Carolina?
Yes, it’s completely legal to open carry in North Carolina without a permit, though you must be at least 18 years old to do so.
What Weapons are Banned in North Carolina?
Even with the appropriate firearm permit, certain weapons are prohibited from being owned or carried in the state of North Carolina. State law bans the following firearms:
- Machine guns
- Sawed-off rifles
- Sawed-off shotguns
Also prohibited are silencers or sound suppressors for firearms.
Are Brass Knuckles Legal in North Carolina?
In addition to the aforementioned firearms, it is also illegal to publicly carry other kinds of dangerous instruments or deadly weapons. For example, it is illegal for a person to carry concealed brass knuckles in North Carolina. It’s also illegal to carry a concealed bowie knife, dirk, dagger, slungshot, loaded cane, razor, shuriken, or a stun gun, according to North Carolina weapon laws.
You may, however, have brass knuckles and the rest of the dangerous weapons listed on your own property.
Self-Defense with Weapons in NC
When it comes to self-defense, North Carolina follows the Castle Doctrine and the Stand Your Ground rule. We’ll cover these below:
What is the Castle Doctrine?
The Castle Doctrine in the United States says that people can use deadly force to protect themselves and their property from dangerous intruders without retreating. But in order to use legal deadly force, the person must believe that it’s absolutely necessary in order to save their life or someone else’s. In other words, the person can only use this type of force in order to prevent imminent death or serious bodily harm.
What is the Stand Your Ground Rule?
North Carolina is one of 35 states that follows the Stand Your Ground rule, which is essentially the same thing as the Castle Doctrine. This rule also states that people have the right to defend themselves if their lives are in imminent danger and they don’t have to retreat. The only difference is that this rule isn’t limited to someone’s home or property. If your life is in danger anywhere, you have the right to defend yourself. However, the type of force used to defend yourself must be proportional to the crime or dangerous circumstance. So if someone is simply making you uncomfortable in a parking lot and they’re not hurting you or threatening to hurt you, you can’t just shoot them.
Places in North Carolina That Ban Weapons
Even if you have a valid concealed carry permit, there are some places in NC where you absolutely cannot carry concealed handguns, including:
- Any school or school event
- A local detention facility, a local sheriff’s office, correctional facilities, or any other law enforcement agency
- State or local government buildings, courthouses, or the state capitol building
- Community events like parades, funerals, picket lines, etc., except when a person has their guns in a locked firearm rack in a pickup truck
- Private property that specifically bans concealed guns
- Any private or public institution that bans guns under federal law
Types of Weapon Charges and The Penalties
There is a lot of room to violate North Carolina gun laws. If you’re caught doing one or more crimes listed below, you could face major consequences.
- Carrying a Concealed Gun Without a Permit: It is a crime to carry a concealed gun without a valid concealed handgun permit in NC. The first time you’re caught, you’re facing a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in jail. If you are caught a second time, you’ll face a Class H felony, which is punishable from anywhere between 4 months to up to 2 years imprisonment.
- Possessing or Carrying a Machine Gun: If you’re caught possessing or carrying a machine gun, you will receive a Class I felony charge and may spend 3 to 12 months in jail.
- Possessing an Open or Concealed Handgun as a Felon: If a felon is caught with a gun in NC, they are guilty of a Class G felony and may spend 8 months to up to 2 years behind bars.
- Possessing an Open or Concealed Handgun on School Property: If you’re caught carrying a firearm, either openly or with concealed handgun permits, on school property, your consequences will depend on whether or not you’re an unlawful user. Illegal possession of a gun at a school is a Class I felony resulting in 3 to 12 months behind bars. Meanwhile, legal possession of a gun at a school is a Class 1 misdemeanor, but only if the gun isn’t loaded and is secured in a locked container within a person’s locked vehicle. You could spend up to 120 days behind bars for a Class 1 misdemeanor.
- Carrying Weapons at a Business That Sells Alcohol: If you’re caught carrying weapons at businesses or events that sell alcohol, you’ll also face a Class 1 misdemeanor and may spend up to 120 days in jail.
- Buying or Possessing Guns as Someone With a Domestic Violence Order: If you’re already facing a domestic violence order and you’re caught buying or possessing a gun, you are facing a Class H felony, which entails anywhere from 4 months to 2 years behind bars.
- Armed Robbery: Armed robbery in North Carolina is a Class D felony, meaning you could spend 4 to 10 years in jail.
- Discharging a Weapon Indoors: Firing a gun inside a building may either be a Class F or Class E felony, depending on the circumstances. You could spend 1 to 4 years in prison for a Class E felony and 1 to 3 years in prison for a Class F felony.
- Altering a Weapon’s Serial Number: Destroying, removing, or changing a gun’s serial number or having a gun without a serial number is a Class H felony and may result in 5 months to 2 years behind bars.
- Allowing a Minor to Handle a Firearm: Letting a child use your gun is a Class 2 misdemeanor and may lead to you spending between 1 to 60 days in jail.
- Selling a Weapon to a Minor: Selling a gun to a minor is a Class H felony while selling any other weapon to a minor is a Class 1 misdemeanor. A Class H felony may result in 5 months to 2 years behind bars, while a Class 1 misdemeanor may result in 1 to 120 days.
- Assaulting an Officer of the Law: Assaulting a law enforcement officer, parole officer, or a person employed at a detention facility with a weapon is a Class H felony. However, if the victim is a government official or a police officer, you’ll face a Class F felony. You could spend 5 months to 2 years in jail for a Class H felony and 1 to 3 years in jail for a Class F felony.
For Your Weapon Charges, Call Jacksonville Criminal Defense Attorney Aden Wilkie Today
If you’re caught violating any of the previously mentioned North Carolina weapon laws, you need the help of an experienced Jacksonville criminal defense attorney like Aden Wilkie on your side. At Wilkie Law Firm, we will examine all the facts of your case, conduct a thorough amount of research, and fight for you to receive the best outcome possible in your case. Call us today at 910-333-9626 for a consultation where we can discuss your case privately.