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Can I carry a handgun openly in North Carolina?

Jim Ware
StarNews

North Carolina law does not specifically keep anybody from walking around with a handgun in a holster on his or her hip.

However, state gun laws do prohibit firearms of any kind in certain establishments such as schools, courthouses and establishments that sell alcoholic beverages.

Concealed handguns are specifically addressed under N.C. General Statutes Chapter 14‑415.10 through 14‑415.26.

Here’s how the question of openly carrying firearms was addressed under the Concealed Carry FAQ section of the N.C. Rifle & Pistol Association’s website.

Q: Can I carry a gun in NC without having a Concealed Handgun permit?

A: This is dependent on many factors. On private property where you have permission of the owner – Yes. In rural areas where open carry is permitted – Yes. In cities and towns where a Display Ban is in effect – No.

The website OpenCarry.org also discusses the regulations of firearms being openly carried in North Carolina.

A summary from the North Carolina page at OpenCarry.org says, “North Carolina is a traditional open carry state. You MAY open carry in a motor vehicle. However, localities may regulate the carrying of firearms under certain circumstances.”

Here’s a link to the N.C. General Statutes chapter concerning firearms: N.C. G.S. 14.

Related links:

It’s a right some want to protect

In N.C., you can let your gun show

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

Can a retiring N.C. police officer purchase his or her duty weapon for $1?

What agency/group can help me get a hunting or fishing license?

User-contributed question by:
Steve Clemmons

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15 Responses to “ Can I carry a handgun openly in North Carolina?”

  1. On January 17, 2011 at 10:07 pm Bill wrote:

    Your answer is incorrect. The law does not prohibit the open carry of firearms in establishments that “sell” alchohol. The NC concealed carry laws state that a firearm can not be carried concealed in an establishment that sells AND where alcohol is consumed. So you can carry in the grocery store where alcohol is sold, but not in say Applebee’s where it is both sold and consumed.

  2. On January 18, 2011 at 1:35 am jp wrote:

    It would be much easier to say: Yes, except for limited locations where state law specifically say no:

    -Schools and educational property
    -Establishments that sell alcohol for on-site consumption (in most circumstances)
    -State property and Courthouses
    -Federal property and courthouses
    -Parade, funeral procession, picket line, or demonstration
    -Any property that is posted saying no weapons

    Other than those places open carry is legal in NC unless local government restricts it, and Chapel Hill is the only place I am aware of that does:

    Chapel Hill has a restriction about the size of a handgun that can be open carried within it’s city limits, and severely limits the locations one can be carried. (Chapel Hill CC 11-130 – 139)

    One very important thing to keep in mind is the common law offense of “Going armed to the terror of the people” in NC. http://www.guncite.com/court/state/25nc418.html

    A judge in 1843 was nice enough to create this little law that basically says if you carry a gun and terrorize someone you are guilty of a crime. But it is frequently mistakenly charged by police when the gun is only being carried and is not being used to threaten anyone. The case specifically says “the carrying of a gun, per se, constitutes no offence”, but the litmus for the charge is to carry it “in such manner as naturally will terrify and alarm a peaceful people”.

    So that’s the gamble you take.

    Personally? Just go get a concealed handgun permit if you can. If you are not disqualified it is just a matter of a day-long class, $100, some paperwork, and a few weeks wait.

  3. On January 18, 2011 at 9:50 am Rich wrote:

    My understanding of the law is that you cannot carry a firearm in a location where you can buy AND consume alcohol. Places where you can buy and consume alcohol would obviously include bars and also many restaurants. Conversely, carrying a firearm in a location where alcohol is only sold, like a grocery store for example, is legal per NC law.

  4. On January 18, 2011 at 11:45 am Edward Alexander wrote:

    Sunday January 16,2011 at Smithfields BBQ near Ogden on Market Street at about 12:30 a young white man paraded around the establishment with a 9 mm with an ammo extension in his belt. Very uncomfortable for patrons and stupid with all the problems particularly AZ that our laws allow such . I suppose we have to have another terrible event for law makers to write adjustments in the law! Thank you.

  5. On January 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm Brian wrote:

    “…Very uncomfortable for patrons and stupid with all the problems particularly AZ that our laws allow such . I suppose we have to have another terrible event for law makers to write adjustments in the law!…”

    So, did you dial 911, inform the manager of your discomfort or just sit there and do nothing?

  6. On January 18, 2011 at 3:02 pm Bill wrote:

    To add to this it is also LEGAL to openly carry a firearm into a bank but it is illegal to carry a concealed handgun into a bank.

    Might seem shocking to most but it is perfectly legal.

    And as far as the women who saw a man openly carrying a gun. There is nothing wrong with that. If you had called 911 for no reason except seeing a man with a gun you would have wasted a terrible amount of resources and taxpayer money for no reason, besides the fact that you felt uncomfortable.

    It’s not the law abiding citizens that openly carry or conceal carry their handguns that you have to worry about.

  7. On February 17, 2012 at 3:54 am Robert E Lee wrote:

    I HAVE GUNS DOES THAT MAKE ME A BAD GUY IF IT WAS UP TO ME I WOULD HAVE EVERYONE CARRY FOR THE SIMPLE FACT NO ONE IS GOING TO DO SOMETHING STUPID IN A PLACE WERE THE ARE OUT GUNED IT WOULD STOP ALOT OFF THE BAD GUY IN THERE TRACKS WOMAN THE MAN IS RIGHT WE R NOT THE ONES THAT YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF I CARRY AND IF FOR SOME REASON I SEE YOU OR ANYONE GETTING ROBBED OR HERT IN ANY WAY YES I WOULD HELP YOU OUT BECOUSE IT IS THE WAY IT SHOULD BE SO JUST TO HAVE SOME KIND OF DEFENCE AGAINST PEOPLE WHO DONT CARE FOR OTHERS AND HERT PEOPLE

  8. On March 31, 2013 at 10:51 pm Brant wrote:

    Why is it that I have commented on several articles in the My Reporter section of the StarNews, and my comments have never been posted, yet Robert E. Lee’s barely readable diatribe is posted?

  9. On April 1, 2013 at 10:26 am Si Cantwell wrote:

    I don’t know why your previous comments would have been rejected. I’ve been the editor of MyReporter for more than a year now. I tend to approve messages if they appear relevant to the question and answer and if they don’t contain profanity, insults or other objectionable material. I don’t mind posts that air different opinions, but I don’t allow post that, in my judgment, would offend readers. I definitely stay away from anything that could be potentially libelous. I love posts that add to the knowledge of the topic of the question and answer.

  10. On April 6, 2013 at 2:13 pm Kenneth Pebworth wrote:

    Some ideas the fate of the earth, abortion, gun control, the nature of God aren’t going to be resolved in a reader forum, so no need to get frustrated if others don’t see your point of view. State your position once and leave it at that.

  11. On August 10, 2013 at 3:16 am Luke Allen wrote:

    It is legal to open carry any where in nc except in a state or federal building, with the following exceptions, events where an admission fee is charged, funerals, or prades. It is legal to open carry in local muncipalities, banks. bars, parks, everwhere they can post signs no concealed hand guns but you can open carry in NC they can’t deny you that right its the law no more than they can deny you entry based on race its the NC constitution and the same US constituation. If some one tries too bully you sue them because the are violating your civil rights.

    Luke

  12. On August 29, 2013 at 6:18 pm Robert Moore wrote:

    You don’t need to be carrying a handgun!

  13. On November 21, 2013 at 9:39 am Gregory Palega wrote:

    NC gun laws were changed this year to allow firearms in establishments that serve alcohol. I am not sure of the logic behind this move. In fact, it sounds just plain idiotic to mix guns and booze. You should investigate further to increase public awareness.



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