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Can I carry a concealed firearm in North Carolina state parks?

Ken Little

For the most part, yes. But there are exceptions.

“Our rules were altered in 2011 by the action of the General Assembly to allow concealed weapons with proper permit in parks,” said Charlie Peek, a spokesman for the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation

But, Peek said, “We can’t allow even concealed weapons with a permit at Kerr Lake, Jordan Lake and Falls Lake state recreation areas since the state leases those lands from the federal government.”

State law stipulates that firearms and other weapons are prohibited, “except that those with a proper permit may possess a concealed handgun in permitted areas and under the requirements of North Carolina G.S. 14-415.11.”

All firearms and weapons are prohibited in state park visitor centers and park offices.


Federal law regarding firearms in national parks and wildlife refuges like the Moores Creek National Battlefield changed in February 2010.

The law allows firearms in many national parks. Individuals who can legally possess firearms under federal and state law can possess those firearms in the national parks in that state, said April Slayton, spokeswoman for the National Park Service.

Prior to February 2010, firearms were generally prohibited in national parks, except in some Alaska parks and parks that allow hunting.

State and local firearms laws vary. Visitors who want to bring a firearm to a national park “need to understand and comply with the applicable laws,” Slayton said.

Federal law continues to prohibit the possession of firearms in designated “federal facilities” in national parks, for example, visitor centers, offices, or maintenance buildings. These places are posted with “firearms prohibited” signs at public entrances.

The 2010 law also does not change prohibitions on the use of firearms in national parks and does not change hunting regulations, Slayton said.

Park websites include links to state firearms laws to help visitors understand the law and plan accordingly.


At Moores Creek National Battlefield, federal law prohibits the possession of a firearm or other dangerous weapon in federal facilities unless specifically authorized.

“Facilities” covered under this provision include the visitor center and comfort stations, administration building, maintenance building and structures, and Patriots Hall.

Historic black powder weapons used for interpretation purposes only can be stored, transported, cleaned, prepared and displayed in park facilities.

NOTE: This 2014 answer replaces an earlier MyReporter answer.


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3 Responses to “ Can I carry a concealed firearm in North Carolina state parks?”

  1. On June 1, 2009 at 5:48 pm John Kennedy wrote:

    I wish this were true now, as I am leaving Monday, June 8th 2009 on an extended trip to the West and Northwest. This trip includes many National Parks. Unfortunately, this permission is not valid until 9 months after the President signed the bill…..which is sometime in February 2010. I hate to bring this up, but gun owners should know before entering a National Park. Thanks.

  2. On July 6, 2009 at 1:16 pm John G wrote:

    North Carolina has some of the most restrictive concealed carry laws on the books. In a time where crime is up and personal safety is of utmost impotance, NC politicians seek to prevent law abiding citizens from protecting themselves.

    The police cannot be everywhere at all times and are often called far too late to prevent a life threatening act from happening.

    NC law makers must not treat its law abiding citizens like criminals.

    Police carry guns for self protection. Why should a properly trained, law abiding, concealed carry permit holder be treated any different.

    We ALL have the right to self protection!

  3. On February 22, 2013 at 9:02 am John M wrote:

    The answer regarding conceal carry in NC State park is incorrect. per: “Any person who has a concealed handgun permit may carry a concealed handgun on the grounds or waters of a park within the State Parks System as defined in G.S. 113‑44.9″
    Also: ” As provided in G.S. 14‑269.4(5), it shall be lawful for a person to carry any firearm openly, or to carry a concealed handgun with a concealed carry permit, at any State‑owned rest area, at any State‑owned rest stop along the highways, and at any State‑owned hunting and fishing reservation”

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