Gun ownership laws are not very restrictive in the state of North Carolina. It is considered an open carry state that is fairly permissive for gun ownership and open carry. It is your constitutional right to own and carry a gun within allowed places within the state, as long as you are 18 years old or older. However, it is still possible to face illegal carry charges.
Here are some things to know about open carry laws for firearms in the state of North Carolina, as well as some restrictions.
What is Open Carry?
Open carry refers to carrying a fully or partially visible firearm. It is legal in North Carolina for adults that are 18 years old or older without a permit. Open carry is allowed in public spaces, including sidewalks and roads. However, you cannot open carry in schools or in certain government-owned spaces, such as the North Carolina State Capitol.
Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry
While open carry does not require a permit, concealed carry does require a permit. To get a concealed carry permit in North Carolina, you must be 21 years old or older and successfully complete a state-approved concealed carry training course. There are also a few restrictions on who cannot get a concealed carry permit, such as those that are convicted of violent crimes. For out-of-state visitors, North Carolina honors concealed carry permits from other states.
Open Carry in North Carolina Businesses
Open carry laws do not apply to private properties and businesses that do not allow firearms. If private business posts or states that firearms are not allowed, you are not permitted to bring a firearm into the property. (This applies to concealed carry, too). Businesses and homeowners have a right to restrict firearms on their properties.
There are also some business-level distinctions when it comes to open carry versus concealed carry. According to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, you cannot open carry at a parade, funeral procession, or protest. You also cannot open carry where alcohol can be purchased or consumed, or at an assembly where you’ve paid a fee. You can concealed carry with a legal permit in these instances, however.
There are some caveats to this law. The notice must be conspicuously placed or you must be otherwise notified if a private business does not allow firearms. It cannot apply retroactively, where you are later informed that firearms were not allowed in a place that you’ve already been.
Open Carry Laws in North Carolina Schools
It is against the law in North Carolina to open carry or concealed carry a firearm on any educational property, including public and private schools, colleges, and universities. This also covers extracurricular activities sponsored by an educational institution, even if the activity takes place off of school grounds. This means that if the school-sponsored activity takes place in a public space where firearms are normally allowed, you still cannot carry them at the event.
No Specific State-Level Legal Statutes
It is worth noting that there are not any specific state laws in North Carolina restricting open carry in hospitals, sports venues, casinos, or polling places. There might be other restrictions in place for these facilities, such as if polling takes place at a school. It is worth checking the policies of these facilities before visiting them to ensure that open carry is allowed.
Carrying to Create Public Terror
Even though you are allowed to open carry, you are not allowed to carry a firearm with the purpose to invoke terror. It is considered a common-law offense that’s a Class 1 misdemeanor if a person arms themself with a dangerous and unusual weapon for the purpose of terrifying others in public spaces.
Permit to Purchase a Firearm in North Carolina
Counties are responsible for processing applications for permits to purchase firearms. If you do not have a concealed carry permit, you need a permit to purchase a firearm before you are able to legally purchase one. In addition, there aren’t many restrictions on what kind of firearm you can buy or carry. There are no state-level restrictions on semi-automatic firearms. There are no capacity or caliber restrictions in place at the state level.
Consult a Criminal Defense Attorney in North Carolina
If you have been arrested for carrying illegally, contact the Law Office of Dewey P. Brinkley at (919) 832-0307 or by using the online form. There is no cost for the initial consultation. Dewey P. Brinkley has experience fighting wrongful charges.