North Carolina protects the right to bear arms under Section 30 of the state constitution, but this does not mean that everyone may carry a gun, or that you may always carry a gun wherever you like. While you may openly carry a weapon without a permit, North Carolina requires a concealed carry permit to carry a weapon concealed on (or near) you body or vehicle unless you are on your own premises. (N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-269.) For more information on permitting laws, see Gun Permit Laws in North Carolina.
The following sections explain who may not have a gun, and the circumstances or situations when carrying a gun is illegal.
The following individuals are prohibited from carrying a weapon (open or concealed) in North Carolina.
(N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-415.12.)
The following rules govern when you may not carry a gun in North Carolina. They do not apply to law enforcement or retired law enforcement officers.
It is illegal to carry a concealed pistol or gun in North Carolina without a concealed carry permit, unless you are on your own premises. A first offense is a class 2 misdemeanor, and second or subsequent offense is a class I felony. (N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-269.)
It is a class 1 misdemeanor to carry a weapon on certain state property, into a courthouse, or at a parade or demonstration. (N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-269.4 &14-277.2.)
It is a class I felony to carry a weapon onto school property. (N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-269.2.)
It is a class H felony to carry a weapon during a civil disorder. (N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-288.20.)
North Carolina uses a sentencing structure that takes the defendant’s criminal record into account, so penalties for the crimes listed above will vary according to the facts of your case and your criminal history. For additional information on North Carolina sentencing structure, visit the North Carolina court website.
The penalties for violating gun carry laws are serious, and often include harsh fines and long prison sentences. If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to carry a gun in North Carolina, or if you are facing charges for a gun violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.