The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides all citizens with the right to bear arms. North Carolina has a gun ownership rate of 45.8%, which means that almost half the adults in the state own firearms. While it is your right to own a firearm, firearm owners must follow the law. Responsible gun owners need to know the laws to ensure that they are not charged with a gun crime. There are various laws in place that pertain to gun ownership in North Carolina.
Gun Ownership Laws
Gun owners in most areas of North Carolina are not required to register their firearms. Only gun owners in Durham County must register their guns. North Carolina residents are allowed to legally possess and open-carry a handgun, rifle, or shotgun, which are guns that are not able to perform fully automatic fire. A convicted felon is not allowed to own a firearm under federal law. Also, a gun owner must be at least age 18 to possess a firearm. The law allows you to open-carry, but you cannot carry a concealed weapon without a permit.
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What is Concealed Carry?
A firearm owner is allowed to carry a gun in the open. This means that the gun can be easily seen by others while in your possession. Concealed carry means the possession of a firearm in public in a way that is not able to be seen by others. When you have a firearm in a vehicle, it may easily be considered concealed. Whether you keep it in the glove compartment, center console, under the seat, or in your pocket, a gun is not readily seen. This means it is a concealed weapon, and unless you have a concealed carry permit, you cannot carry it in that manner.
Unlawful concealment happens when someone carries or possesses a gun that is not easily seen by someone else. Unlawful concealment of a firearm may be either a misdemeanor or a felony. If this is your first offense, you will likely face misdemeanor charges. If you have had a prior unlawful concealment conviction, you will face felony charges. If you are a convicted felon, you are not allowed to carry or possess a firearm at all, so you will likely have felony charges. If you conceal a firearm in a vehicle, you must provide law enforcement with this information when you are stopped.
Although you have the right to carry a firearm, you must follow the law. If you want to have a firearm in your vehicle, you should obtain a concealed carry permit. Remember that it is important to keep your gun away from children and others. You can apply for a concealed carry permit in the county where you live. Once issued, a concealed carry permit is typically valid for a period of five years unless it is revoked.
Weapons charges can be serious, and they can result in severe penalties if convicted. If you were charged with a gun offense, we can help. Contact us at Arnold & Smith, PLLC at (704) 370-2828 to consult with our criminal defense attorneys.
The criminal defense attorneys at Arnold & Smith, PLLC make it their mission to zealously defend their clients on a wide range of criminal matters at both the state and federal levels. These matters may include any charge from traffic offenses; DWI/DUI; drug charges (from simple possession to possession with intent to distribute and trafficking); gun permit denials; weapons offenses; and property crimes (larceny, breaking and entering, robbery, fraud, embezzlement, white collar offenses); to sexually related offenses (indecent exposure; sexual assault, crimes against nature, removal from sex offender registry); and violent crimes (domestic violence; assault; manslaughter; homicide, murder). Other legal issues that Arnold & Smith, PLLC criminal clients may be facing include restraining orders, restraining order and probation violations, expungements; appeals; and immigration issues related to criminal charges. Our criminal defense attorneys are passionate about ensuring that individuals empower themselves by being informed about their constitutional rights, and stand at the ready to fight in the defense of those facing criminal charges.
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