As a lawful firearm owner in North Carolina, you have the right to openly carry your handgun, rifle, or another firearm in public. The open carry laws are fairly expansive, and include hunting grounds, state parks, and participating restaurants. However, there are many places where you cannot openly carry your weapon. Additionally, there are strict concealed carry laws. Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit and or with a permit but in prohibited locations are illegal acts. You may be charged with a crime if you have a firearm under your jacket without a permit, with a permit but in a location where concealed carry is not allowed, or after having consumed alcohol.
In either situation, you should contact a CCW lawyer as soon as possible. Our Charlotte criminal defense attorneys at Randall & Stump, PLLC are highly experienced in carrying concealed weapons law. You can reach us through our online contact form, or by calling (980) 237-4579z to schedule a free consultation and learn more about weapons charges in NC.
Concealed Carry Permits in Charlotte, NC
Under North Carolina law, you will be issued a CCW permit if you meet all of the requirements, including background checks and proficiency testing. It is not a discretionary matter for the local sheriff’s office. However, if you do not meet any single requirement, you will automatically be denied a permit.
In Mecklenburg County, the concealed carry permit requirements are:
- You must be at least 21-years-old.
- You must have been a resident of Mecklenburg County for at least 30 days.
- You must be a citizen or naturalized citizen of the U.S., or a lawful permanent resident.
- You must not suffer from any mental or physical condition that would prevent you from handling and operating a handgun safely.
- You must provide a valid driver’s license or another government ID with your current address provided by the State of North Carolina.
- You must complete a firearms training and safety course that has been designed by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Standards Commission.
To apply for a concealed carry permit in Mecklenburg County, you must make an appointment with the sheriff’s office. You will be required to pay a non-refundable fee, provide proof of the requirements above, sign a waiver for the officer to review your mental health records, and submit to having your fingerprints recorded.
Also, in order to obtain a permit to carry a concealed handgun, you must not have a criminal conviction that prohibits you from owning a firearm. The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office will perform a criminal background check after you submit your permit application. The sheriff has 45 days from the time all of your materials are provided to deny or issue the permit.
Carrying a Concealed Weapon Charge
Under North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS) 14-269, it is illegal for you to willfully and intentionally carry, concealed about your person, any large knife, loaded cane, metallic knuckles, razor, stun gun, or another deadly weapon except when you are on your own premises.
It also is unlawful for you to willfully and intentionally carry, concealed on your person, any pistol or gun except when:
- On your own premises
- The deadly weapon is a handgun, you have a concealed handgun permit, and you are carrying the handgun in accordance with the permit
- The deadly weapon is a handgun, and you are a military permittee who provides proof to the police of deployment
If you have a concealed weapon and do not fall into one of these or another exception when the police stop you, then you can be arrested. Once a prosecutor is informed of the circumstances, they may choose to move forward with a CCW charge. For a first offense, you will be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor.
Following your arrest for unlawful concealed carry in Mecklenburg County, you should contact a concealed carry defense lawyer right away.
Other Concealed Carry Charges
If you are stopped and arrested for having a concealed firearm or other weapon on your person, you may face charges under a different statute than NCGS 14-269. Depending on the location and other relevant circumstances, you may face charges for:
Possession of a Concealed Weapon While or After Consuming Alcohol – NCGS 14-415.11(c2)
You can be found guilty of this offense, even if you have a valid permit. You are not allowed to carry a concealed firearm or another weapon while imbibing any alcohol or any controlled substance, unless it is a lawfully obtained prescription.
Possession of a Firearm on School Property – NCGS 14-269.2
This offense is classified as a class 1 misdemeanor, or a class I, G, or F felony. You cannot carry a weapon or firearm, even if you have a concealed carry permit, on any type of educational property, including a school bus or athletic field. You also cannot bring a weapon to an activity sponsored by the school. This statute encompasses public and private schools, community colleges, colleges, and universities.
Possession of a Firearm on City Property – Charlotte Code of Ordinances Section 15-14
A class 1 misdemeanor, this ordinance also applies to possession of a firearm at the airport. If you are arrested for having a gun or other dangerous weapon at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport, then you face both criminal charges and fines by the Federal Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
Other circumstances or places in which you cannot carry your concealed weapon with a valid permit include:
- Picket lines and private health care facilities
- Properties with “No Weapons” signs posted
- Law enforcement or correctional facilities
- Federal property
- Local government recreational facilities
Carrying a concealed weapon in prohibited locations can lead to misdemeanor or felony charges. If charged with any of these offenses, it is essential that you call a Charlotte criminal defense attorney right away. When you have a concealed carry permit and are a lawful gun owner, you should not be harshly punished for minor mistakes.
Penalties for Misdemeanor or Felony Convictions in Charlotte
If you are facing a carrying a concealed weapon charge or other gun offense, you should speak with one of our criminal defense lawyers at Randall & Stump, PLLC about the potential penalties.
In North Carolina, sentences are based on predetermined sentencing charts. There is a misdemeanor punishment chart and a felony punishment chart. Both consider the level of the misdemeanor or felony offense and your criminal history.
The misdemeanor chart places you in a level based on the number of your past convictions, while the felony chart requires you to be placed in a prior record level. This is determined by adding up points based on your criminal history. Once a judge has determined the class of the offense and your prior record level, then they will sentence you in the mitigated, presumptive, or aggravated range, depending on the facts of your case.
For the CCW charges discussed above, you face the following potential penalties:
- Class 2 misdemeanor – One to 60 days in jail
- Class 1 misdemeanor – One to 120 days in jail
- Class I felony – Three to 12 months in prison
- Class G felony – Eight to 31 months in prison
- Class F felony – 10 to 41 months in prison
In addition to incarceration, you may be subject to fines, various court fees, and far-reaching collateral consequences. To avoid such penalties, reach out to a Charlotte criminal defense attorney at our firm to learn more about your options moving forward.
Defending Against Charges for Concealed Carry Without a Permit
When you are facing gun possession charges, and you believe you acted within the law, you need to speak with an experienced defense lawyer right away. There are ways to defend charged related to a violation of North Carolina’s concealed carry law.
Your CCW lawyer may argue:
- The weapon was not a firearm
- The weapon was not actually concealed
- That you were unaware of the weapon being present
- You were engaged in, or on the way to or from, an activity in which you legitimately used the weapon
- You possessed the weapon for a legitimate use
- You did not use or attempt to use the weapon for any illegal purpose
There are other potential defenses as well. Your lawyer may present evidence that you actually have a valid concealed carry permit. Or, if you were on property you or a relative owned, your lawyer may present evidence that you were on your own premises.