The U.S. Constitution and the laws of the State of North Carolina both protect your right to bear arms. However, there are certain restrictions in place that prohibit certain types of carrying: one is that it is illegal to carry a concealed weapon outside of your home without a valid concealed carry permit. If you do have a permit, there are still restrictions on where and when you can carry your handgun. Read on for best practices to ensure you do not run afoul of the state’s rules and regulations for concealed carry.
North Carolina’s Concealed Carry Law
First, it is important to understand North Carolina’s concealed carry law. It is illegal to carry a concealed gun in North Carolina unless:
- You are on your own property;
- You are a law enforcement officer or are otherwise authorized to carry a weapon as part of your job; or
- You are carrying a handgun and have a valid concealed carry permit.
Know Where It Is Illegal to Conceal Carry, Even With a Permit
Those with a concealed carry permit should be aware of where carrying a handgun is prohibited, even with a permit (unless you are a law enforcement officer, in which case, exceptions will apply). In North Carolina, these places include:
- school property or at school-sponsored events;
- correctional facilities or law enforcement facilities;
- state or federal office buildings;
- parades, funeral processions, picket lines, or other demonstrations (with limited exceptions);
- any private property that has chosen to prohibit concealed handguns; and
- wherever guns are prohibited under federal law.
Familiarize yourself with this list to make sure you do not inadvertently carry a concealed weapon to a prohibited place. It is especially important to read any signs on private property before carrying in your concealed weapon.
Other Best Practices
What else should responsible gun owners do to ensure they do not run afoul of the laws? It is best practice to:
- Keep your permit with you whenever you carry your gun. Get your permit laminated at the sheriff’s office when you get it (or do it yourself), as these permits are susceptible to damage.
- Refrain from drinking whenever carrying your concealed weapon. Even if you leave your gun in your car while out drinking at a bar, for example, if you return to your vehicle after having been drinking, you could be arrested.
- Make sure your permit is valid. If it expires, you must retake the concealed carry class, so be sure to renew it before it expires to avoid this.
If you have questions, reach out to a criminal defense attorney to learn more.