man pulling out gun from his pants

Concealed Weapons in North Carolina: The Basics

In North Carolina, you have the right to keep and bear arms, and that includes carrying concealed weapons in specific situations. If you possess a concealed weapon without a permit, however (or with a permit but in a prohibited location), you may be charged with a crime, as North Carolina law forbids carrying any kind of “deadly weapon” in public without one.

Here, we review the requirements and potential charges involved in carrying concealed weapons, including handguns and other deadly weapons, in North Carolina. Please note that there are exceptions to these rules for law enforcement officers and military personnel.

Carrying a Concealed Handgun: You Must Have a Permit

In order to carry a concealed handgun in North Carolina, you must obtain a permit from the State. Not everyone, however, is even eligible to obtain a permit: Under the North Carolina General Statutes, those with prior felony convictions are prohibited from possessing or carrying concealed weapons.

It is illegal to carry a concealed handgun outside of one’s own home without a permit. Those caught with a concealed handgun without a permit for the first time will be charged with a Class 2 misdemeanor. A second charge will result in a more serious conviction: A Class H Felony. If you do have a permit, but do not have it with you while carrying the concealed weapon, you will still face a misdemeanor charge, so it is important to remember to carry your permit with you whenever you have your gun outside of your home.  

Where You Cannot Carry a Concealed Weapon – Even with a Permit

Even with a valid concealed handgun permit, it is illegal in North Carolina to carry any type of concealed weapon on school property or in a place where alcohol is sold and consumed. Additionally, you cannot carry your weapon at a parade, funeral procession, picket line, or demonstration; on certain government properties such as courthouses and jails; and on private property where a notice is posted prohibiting concealed handguns.

Carrying Other Concealed Deadly Weapons

Aside from handguns, for which you can seek a permit, the law prohibits certain other kinds of concealed weapons. The North Carolina General Statutes list the following: “any bowie knife, dirk, dagger, slung shot, loaded cane, metallic knuckles, razor, shuriken, stun gun, or another deadly weapon of like kind.” For these weapons, the law provides no exception for concealed carry permits. If you’re found with a concealed weapon of this type, you may face a Class 2 misdemeanor charge.

Because of the nuances involved with concealed weapons offenses in North Carolina and the seriousness of the penalties associated with the charges, it is especially important to consult an experienced North Carolina criminal defense attorney if you have any questions about whether you are allowed to carry a handgun, where your permit allows you to carry one, or what to do if you’ve been charged with a concealed weapon offense. Attorney Jeremy Cotten has served thousands of satisfied clients through Wake, Johnston, Harnett, Orange, Sampson, Lee, and Chatham Counties. For guidance, give our firm a call or head to the main page to chat with a legal assistant 24 hours a day.