Protestors are taking to the streets across America, including North Carolina – and some of them are armed.
Protestors have remained peaceful in most places, though some have gotten violent. That’s exactly what happened at a recent Charlotte protest, when 25 people were arrested at a previously peaceful rally.
However, you don’t have to be involved in violent behavior to be arrested at a protest in North Carolina. In fact, because of some laws in our state, one of the things most likely to make you a target of arrest here is carrying a weapon — even if you take no illegal action.
Here’s what you need to know about weapons laws in North Carolina so you can stay out of jail.
Gun Ownership in North Carolina
While our state has no restrictions on magazine size or calibers for weapons, there are some limited restrictions on open carry. You can also carry a concealed weapon in North Carolina if you have a permit, are over 21, and have completed the required firearms training course.
If you do not have a concealed carry permit already, you will also need a permit to purchase a firearm in North Carolina. Applications are processed by the local sheriff’s office.
Let’s break it down item by item. If you own a gun in this state, you:
- Can carry it in your vehicle
- Can carry it in State Parks
- Can carry it into liquor establishments
- Must notify an officer that you have one if approached on official business
- Can carry it into restaurants
- Cannot carry it inside any public or private school unless you’re official security
What About Carrying at NC Protests?
One of the few places in North Carolina where carrying a weapon can make you a target for arrest is at a protest. This is because, when certain conditions are met at protests, a person with a weapon may be accused of going armed to the terror of the public.
It’s an old law, but it has modern applications. In fact, it’s been used hundreds of times to arrest people carrying weapons at protests. It basically calls for a ban on intimidating the public by carrying a weapon in a public space. This is a constraint found in many states, not simply North Carolina, and can be used as a probable cause for arrest if the police feel that a weapon is being carried to frighten others.
Penalties for Violations in North Carolina
If you’re arrested at a protest, you may be charged with other crimes. But as far as the gun laws are concerned, carrying a weapon at a demonstration or protest is a misdemeanor. Your criminal record will be taken into account when the penalty is decided, so these types of crimes vary according to the individual facts of the case.
Also don’t forget — even though you have the right to bear arms federally and you have the right to legally own and carry a gun in North Carolina, laws are constantly changing. Make sure to always check the local statutes so you can operate within the bounds of the law.
Don’t Forget about North Carolina’s Illegal Possession of Guns Law
In North Carolina, some people are not allowed to own handguns. This includes convicted felons as well as anyone subject to a protective order. Being caught with a weapon when you’re not allowed to possess one legally can result in a felony charge, so make sure you have your permit with you at all times if you’re legally allowed to carry.
Understanding your gun rights in North Carolina is essential if you want to carry, so make sure to stay on top of the latest information, especially if you plan on taking to the streets to protest.