As an adult in North Carolina, you generally have the right to purchase, own, possess, and use a firearm. Whether you own a rifle for hunting or a handgun for safety, you are typically allowed to keep your firearm in your home or stored properly in your vehicle. However, no one’s gun ownership rights are absolute. Gun laws in North Carolina limit who can own guns, where you can take guns, and how you can possess them. A significant restriction on gun ownership is in regard to convicted felons. It is illegal to be a felon in possession of a firearm, and if you are caught as a felon in possession, you face another felony offense.
If you have a felony on your record and were recently charged with a crime for possessing a firearm, call Randall & Stump, PLLC at (980) 237-4579 today. You also can reach us through our online contact form to request a free consultation regarding your case and other weapons charges in NC.
Possession of a Firearm by a Felon Is Illegal
The possession of a firearm by a convicted felon is prohibited under North Carolina General Statutes (NCGS) 14-415.1. The law states it is illegal for anyone who has been convicted of a felony to buy, own, possess, or have in their control any firearm or any weapon that could cause mass death or destruction.
A firearm includes any weapon, including a starter gun, that is designed to expel a projectile by the action of an explosive, as well as any firearm muffler or silencer. However, a firearm does not include any weapon that the law classifies as an antique under NCGS 14-409.11. Antique firearms are those manufactured on or before 1898, those that cannot use fixed ammunition, and replicas.
This means if you were ever convicted of a felony anywhere in the U.S., you can no longer own or possess a gun in North Carolina. If you are caught in actual possession of a firearm, or with a firearm in the same vehicle or your residence, then you will be charged with a class G felony.
Exceptions to the Felon in Possession of a Firearm Prohibition
In North Carolina, a select few felony convictions do not result in you losing your right to own or possess a firearm. Felony convictions related to unfair trade practices, antitrust violations, and restrains of trade do not result in the loss of your gun ownership rights.
Federal Law Prohibits Felons in Possession of Firearms
If you were convicted of a felony, then your right to own or possess a firearm is also prohibited under federal law. The law states you can be banned from buying, owning, or possessing a gun under federal law if you were convicted of a crime punishable by more than one year prison, or of a misdemeanor domestic violence crime.
What does this mean for you? If you are a felon found in possession of a firearm, you can face federal charges. This is more likely to happen if you are accused of moving a firearm over state lines, if you were arrested on federal property, or if you were investigated and arrested by federal authorities.
If convicted of a federal offense for being a felon in possession, you face time in federal prison, fines, and other penalties. You could face a harsh mandatory minimum for being a felon in possession under federal law. As such, it’s important to reach out to a criminal defense lawyer for help if you’re facing weapons-related accusations.
Felon in Possession of a Firearm Sentencing Guidelines
When you are being charged for possession of a firearm as a felon in Charlotte, NC, you need to contact a weapons crime lawyer right away. A class G felony is a serious offense, and you face time in prison, fines, and other penalties. An experienced attorney will take a look at your case and your criminal history and offer a candid explanation of the potential consequences of a conviction.
For a Class G felony, you face a sentence of anywhere between eight and 31 months in prison.
Restoring Felon Gun Rights
North Carolina law is not entirely unforgiving. The Restoration of Firearm Rights law (NCGS 14-415.4) may allow you to regain your right to buy, possess, and own a firearm. If you were convicted of one non-violent felony, talk with a weapons crimes lawyer about petitioning for the restoration of your rights.
Your single felony conviction must not have been a class A, B1, or B2 felony, or a lower-class violent felony. Your conviction will be considered a violent felony if it involved assault as an essential element of the crime, the offense included the possession of a firearm or other deadly weapon, during the offense you were armed with or used a firearm or deadly weapon, or the offense required you to register as a sex offender.
You also must meet several other eligibility criteria, including:
- Being a resident of North Carolina for at least one year
- You have not been convicted of certain misdemeanors since the felony conviction
- You submit your fingerprints to the county sheriff a background check
If you believe you may be eligible for restoration of your firearm rights, call Randall & Stump, PLLC right away.