Although the right to bear arms is protected under both the federal and North Carolina constitutions, that doesn’t mean all North Carolinians may carry a gun or may do so wherever they like. Most people may openly carry firearms wherever they aren't prohibited. But the state requires a permit for concealed carry, and some people are ineligible for a permit. This article explains those restrictions.
It’s illegal in North Carolina to carry a concealed gun, unless:
The state’s concealed-weapon prohibition also applies to other deadly weapons like stun guns.
In order to qualify for permit you must be at least 21, a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident, and a North Carolina resident (for at least 30 days). You must also have completed an approved firearms safety and training course. Even if you meet those basic qualifications, you won’t be able to get a permit if you:
(N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-269, 14-415.11, 14-415.12 (2019).)
Even if you have concealed-carry permit, North Carolina prohibits guns in certain places, including:
In some other places, such as establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold and consumed, firearms are prohibited unless they’re handguns carried by people with concealed carry permits. However, even with a permit, it’s illegal to carry a concealed handgun away from your own property while you’re drinking alcohol or while you still have any alcohol or illegal drugs in your blood.
All of these prohibitions have exceptions for law enforcement officers and certain other authorized individuals. (N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-269.2, 14-269.3, 14-269.4, 14-277.2, 14-415.11 (2019).)
Certain people are also prohibited from buying or possessing any firearms under North Carolina weapons laws, including convicted felons and anyone subject to a current protective order (N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-269.8, 14-415.1 (2019)).
Most of the gun-carry violations discussed in this article are felonies. It’s a misdemeanor to carry a concealed gun without a permit or to carry a weapon on certain state property or at a parade or demonstration. North Carolina uses a sentencing structure that takes the defendant’s criminal record into account, so penalties for these crimes will vary according to the facts of your case and your criminal history.
Look Out for Legal Changes
States can change their laws at any time, so it’s always a good idea to check the current statutes. You can find and read North Carolina’s statutes this search tool.
The penalties for violating gun carry laws can be serious. 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.
Updated May 29, 2019