There are many reasons people like to carry concealed weapons. Some people simply feel safer knowing they have the weapon on them. Others are concerned about specific threats, like mugging or mass shootings.
Regardless of the reason for having it, everyone needs to follow the law when out and about with a concealed weapon, and there are some important restrictions when it comes to concealed carry in North Carolina. Concealed weapons are never permitted in certain places, for example.
Understanding when and where concealed carry weapons are permitted can prevent you from being charged with a crime. Concealed weapons are supposed to help keep you safe; learning the laws surrounding them can help protect you from weapons charges.
How NC Concealed Carry Permits Work
North Carolina requires all people carrying a concealed weapon to have a conceal-and-carry permit. This permit shows that you have undergone appropriate training to handle the weapon safely. After all, an untrained person handling a gun can be just as dangerous as a malicious person with one.
North Carolina Conceal-and-Carry Permit Requirements
In order to receive a permit in this state, there are a few requirements.
- You must have lived in North Carolina for at least 30 days
- You must be a US citizen
- You are required to be over 21 years old
- You will need to pass an 8+ hour firearm training course
Finally, you can’t be legally barred from owning a gun, whether that’s due to criminal background or an illness that prevents you from handling it safely.
Carrying Your Concealed Weapon Permit
Once you have received your permit, it is advisable you carry the permit and ID on you whenever you’re carrying the weapon. That said, you aren’t legally required to have a concealed carry permit specifically from North Carolina.
The state recognizes permits from every other state that issues them. Even if you’ve moved to the area, your old permit should work just fine as long as it hasn’t expired.
Informing Law Enforcement You Are Carrying a Concealed Weapon
While carrying your concealed weapon, you are legally required to inform law enforcement officers that you have a concealed weapon should an officer approach you. Let them know you have a permit, as well.
Don’t try to show them the weapon or the permit unless they ask. That can be interpreted as aggressive and may escalate a situation.
Where (and When) Not to Carrying Concealed Weapons in NC
Concealed weapons are never allowed in some North Carolina locations. These places include:
- Prisons or similar locations
- State or federal workplaces
- School grounds
- Places that sell alcohol
- Anywhere that posts a sign banning concealed weapons.
These rules are in place for public safety. As long as you aren’t somewhere listed above, you are permitted to have your weapon.
Don’t Carry While Under the Influence
You also may not consume alcohol while carrying your gun. Furthermore, you cannot under the influence of any controlled substance while possessing your weapon. The only exception to this is if you have a legally obtained substance prescribed by a doctor.
North Carolina Laws and Penalties Surrounding Concealed Carry
Failing to observe these requirements can result in criminal charges. These weapons charges are most commonly felonies, which can seriously impact your life. In North Carolina, specific penalties are assigned while taking your criminal history into account.
Get Caught without Your Permit, Face Jail Time and Fines
Simply not having your permit on you is the lowest weapons charge related to concealed carry. This is a class 2 misdemeanor for your first offense, which can lead to 60 days in jail and $1,000 in fines. That’s a pretty good reason to remember your wallet!
A second or subsequent offense for this act is a Class I felony. This can lead to spending ten months in prison, along with the potential for fines.
Once you move beyond forgetting your permit, potential penalties increase dramatically.
Permit or Not, Unlawful Possession is a Felony
Even if you have received a permit previously, it’s illegal to carry a firearm if you’re indicted or convicted of a felony. Possession of a gun by a felon is a Class G felony in NC, punishable by up to 25 months in prison. Being indicted for this felony will make possessing a gun illegal, even if you did not actually break a law.
Carrying your weapon somewhere not permitted can be charged as a Class F felony, depending on the location. That carries a prison sentence of up to 41 months. In particular, do not carry a gun on school grounds or federal detention centers. These locations carry the highest penalties.
Carrying your concealed weapon safely and legally should always be a top priority. If you forgot your permit or received another weapons charge, you may be in serious legal trouble.
Should you be charged with any weapons crime, it’s always in your best interest to find good legal representation. An experienced NC weapons crime attorney will help you fight charges and retain the right to carry your weapon.