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Thread: OC in GSMNP

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    Regular Member independence's Avatar
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    Question OC in GSMNP

    Hi. I live in TN and am somewhat new to OC. I usually CC but recently OCed to Walmart for the first time. It went quite well!!

    I have a question about OCing in Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I am going to be camping in Elkmont on the TN side and wondered what the ramifications are if I briefly cross the border into NC while walking the trails. I did some reading on opencarry.org and handgunlaw.us but I am still not 100% on whether Swain or Haywood counties prohibit OC. Also, if you happen to know...How do the rangers on either side of the border react to OC? Are they cool with it?

    Are the laws in NC the same as TN where in National Parks you can carry as long as you don't enter a federal building? On handgunlaw.us it didn't specifically mention National Parks.

    Thanks!

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    National Parks (NPS) honor the laws of the state in which the park land exists.
    You are correct as to no guns in federal facility where fed. emplyees normally work - note that a sign is required.

    Simple quick check on state acceptance of OC:
    http://www.opencarry.org/?page_id=103
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member independence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    National Parks (NPS) honor the laws of the state in which the park land exists.
    You are correct as to no guns in federal facility where fed. emplyees normally work - note that a sign is required.

    Simple quick check on state acceptance of OC:
    http://www.opencarry.org/?page_id=103
    Thanks! Can those counties block OC to preempt the state? And do they?

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by independence View Post
    Thanks! Can those counties block OC to preempt the state? And do they?
    "Open carry is permissible in North Carolina. The state also has a preemption law that prevents county or municipal governments from enacting gun laws that are more restrictive than state law."
    http://civilliberty.about.com/od/gun...a-Gun-Laws.htm
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member independence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    "Open carry is permissible in North Carolina. The state also has a preemption law that prevents county or municipal governments from enacting gun laws that are more restrictive than state law."
    http://civilliberty.about.com/od/gun...a-Gun-Laws.htm
    Gotchya. I think what concerned me was...

    http://www.opencarry.org/?page_id=282

    Additionally, under NC Code Chapter 14 160A.189, a city may by ordinance regulate the display of firearms on the streets, sidewalks, alleys, or other public property.

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    You are good to go. NC is a permitless OC state, so as long as you are legal to possess the firearm and you are not in a prohibited place you are good to go. I alway OC hiking up there. As for Rangers, I've only dealt with a couple on the Blue Ridge Parkway while OC'ing and there was no issue there. But I usually CC in the front country campgrounds and such. Makes my wife more happy.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Be advised that there is a difference between NPS and Federal Forest - both exist along the Blue Ridge side by sie. In some areas the roads and trails are NPS, but off these foot prints is NF, where OC is only allowed during recognized hunting season.

    http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_...rdb5066182.pdf
    Last edited by Grapeshot; 07-11-2013 at 02:24 AM.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member independence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Be advised that there is a difference between NPS and Federal Forest - both exist along the Blue Ridge side by sie. In some areas the roads and trails are NPS, but off these foot prints is NF, where OC is only allowed during recognized hunting season.

    http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_...rdb5066182.pdf
    You mean carry in general, right - not just OC? According to this map, the National Forests are chunks of land generally separated from the average tourist attractions like Clingmans Dome and Cades Cove. True?

    Hilarious that this law is still in effect in 2013:

    "Because hunting on Sunday is prohibited, carrying a loaded gun on National Forest is not legal on Sunday even if it is the Sunday in the middle of the general firearms deer season.
    Thanks for the help!

  9. #9
    Regular Member independence's Avatar
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    Just found this at http://handgunlaw.us/states/tennessee.pdf

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	usda.jpg 
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    (The formatting was a little messed up so it worked better to attach it as an image.)

    ....Not really sure how to interpret this, honestly!
    Last edited by independence; 07-11-2013 at 10:49 AM.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    With a permit, one can carry concealed in a National Forest during hunting season (certain limited restrictions) - when hunting is closed, one may OC or CC, applies to VA, NC & probably TE.
    http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_...rdb5066182.pdf
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Regular Member WalkingWolf's Avatar
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    Take note that OC in NC State Parks is illegal, you can conceal carry in state parks with a CHP though.
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  12. #12
    Regular Member independence's Avatar
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    This is getting complicated, lol. For instance, I guess it's time to start researching whether it's hunting season or not. (I don't hunt so I wouldn't know.) I was considering OCing but now I'm starting to wonder if it would be better to just CC in case there are more mysterious laws that I don't know about.

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    Regular Member independence's Avatar
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    Isn't there an Indian Reservation over there, too? Wonder what the laws are about carrying there.

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    We fight for uniformity in the laws and have made great strides, but meanwhile it does pay to be knowledgeable and research a lot.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    I hope I'm making the better and not worse. We will see.


    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Be advised that there is a difference between NPS and Federal Forest - both exist along the Blue Ridge side by sie. In some areas the roads and trails are NPS, but off these foot prints is NF, where OC is only allowed during recognized hunting season.

    http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_...rdb5066182.pdf
    We got this fixed in NC in the last couple of years. I wrote a ton of emails, attended a few meetings, and tried to rally support. So I have kept up with it a lot. Basically, in NC you can OC or CC with a permit year round per NCWRC. The only exceptions are where the land OWNER prohibits it. There are a lot of lease agreements and other land use agreements between property holders and NCWRC. But our main issue is with the Army Corps of Engineers. All National Forest lands in NC fall under the category of Gamelands and are overseen mainly by NCWRC Game Wardens.

    http://www.ncwildlife.org/Licensing/...aledCarry.aspx

    Quote Originally Posted by independence View Post
    Isn't there an Indian Reservation over there, too? Wonder what the laws are about carrying there.
    If you have a permit, you would be better of CC'ing there. It's hard enough to get a straight answer from them on CC. Not sure they would give you a straight answer on OC. And the Reservation kind of gets to do what it wants in a lot of ways. I tried to get an answer and could not. Another member here or on DC finally got them to say they abide by state laws for CC. I rarely tell someone not to OC somewhere in NC, but until someone gets a straight answer it's probably better to CC or not go there if you prefer not to cover up.

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    I just want to make this as a separate comment. We can parse the laws on NPS, NFS, State Park, Gamelands, etc if you like. But if you are visiting the Smokies, the entirety of the park is National Park Service. If you are not venturing out of the park you don't need to worry about the vagaries of other areas. If you are going outside the park, then ask away.

    Because Grapeshot is right, there is NFS, Gamelands, and state park land butting right up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. But that is a separate park service unit from the Smokies. Although they do connect just outside of Cherokee. And it gets confusing in spots. And Walking Wolf is right that CC is the only current option in State parks in NC.

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    Regular Member independence's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefjason View Post
    I just want to make this as a separate comment. We can parse the laws on NPS, NFS, State Park, Gamelands, etc if you like. But if you are visiting the Smokies, the entirety of the park is National Park Service. If you are not venturing out of the park you don't need to worry about the vagaries of other areas. If you are going outside the park, then ask away.

    Because Grapeshot is right, there is NFS, Gamelands, and state park land butting right up to the Blue Ridge Parkway. But that is a separate park service unit from the Smokies. Although they do connect just outside of Cherokee. And it gets confusing in spots. And Walking Wolf is right that CC is the only current option in State parks in NC.
    True, true... I guess what got me worried was this:

    Quote Originally Posted by Grapeshot View Post
    Be advised that there is a difference between NPS and Federal Forest - both exist along the Blue Ridge side by sie. In some areas the roads and trails are NPS, but off these foot prints is NF, where OC is only allowed during recognized hunting season.

    http://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_...rdb5066182.pdf
    I don't plan to do any back country or anything too adventurous because the wife does not dig hiking. So it sounds like that you are saying that if I mostly just stick to the normal touristy areas of GSMNP then I will be okay to OC?

    What I am worried about is wandering 5 minutes off the beaten path and suddenly finding myself OCing in violation of the law.

    EDIT: Sorry, I kept making typos, etc. so I edited this post a zillion times, lol.
    Last edited by independence; 07-12-2013 at 10:23 AM.

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    I've hiked and traveled the park extensively. I can tell you this. You can't be off the park hiking 5 minutes from any trailhead I can place, unless it's the north or south end of the AT. I can't think of but a couple of trails that venture off the park at all. So anything out of Elkmont, off of 441 between the TN and NC visitor center, or anything starting across from the river on Little River Road will be completely contained within the park.

    Just don't carry in the visitors centers or rangers offices and you should be fine. And enjoy the trip. It's beautiful. And if you venture out to Cade's Cove, pack some patience or go on a weekday. It's a tiny little road that gets a lot of traffic. Very neat area though.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chiefjason View Post
    I've hiked and traveled the park extensively. I can tell you this. You can't be off the park hiking 5 minutes from any trailhead I can place, unless it's the north or south end of the AT. I can't think of but a couple of trails that venture off the park at all. So anything out of Elkmont, off of 441 between the TN and NC visitor center, or anything starting across from the river on Little River Road will be completely contained within the park.

    Just don't carry in the visitors centers or rangers offices and you should be fine. And enjoy the trip. It's beautiful. And if you venture out to Cade's Cove, pack some patience or go on a weekday. It's a tiny little road that gets a lot of traffic. Very neat area though.
    Thanks! Maybe I will OC after all. Hmmm....Still thinking.....

  20. #20
    Regular Member independence's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Successful OC!

    Thanks everybody for your input! I sincerely appreciate it. I went ahead and OCed at Elkmont campground, Cade's Cove, Abrams Falls, the sidewalk of a posted visitor's center, and on the side of the road while watching a bear.

    It was a good experience and I had at least 3 rangers look right at my gun and not freak out. There were some sheeple who scowled at me, though. Seriously. I don't think they liked it too much. Very glad to report that things went well and I had a great time! Thanks!

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    Moderator / Administrator Grapeshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by independence View Post
    Thanks everybody for your input! I sincerely appreciate it. I went ahead and OCed at Elkmont campground, Cade's Cove, Abrams Falls, the sidewalk of a posted visitor's center, and on the side of the road while watching a bear.

    It was a good experience and I had at least 3 rangers look right at my gun and not freak out. There were some sheeple who scowled at me, though. Seriously. I don't think they liked it too much. Very glad to report that things went well and I had a great time! Thanks!
    Good news, but not unexpected. Glad you enjoyed and were well prepared.
    You will not rise to the occasion; you will fall back on your level of training. Archilochus, 650 BC

    Old and treacherous will beat young and skilled every time. Yata hey.

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    Glad to hear it. I'll be around the Bryson City side of the park in a couple weeks and cannot wait!

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    Regular Member carolina guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by independence View Post
    Gotchya. I think what concerned me was...

    http://www.opencarry.org/?page_id=282

    I know this is a couple days late...but for anyone else reading:

    160A-189. Firearms.
    A city may by ordinance regulate, restrict, or prohibit the discharge of firearms at any time or place within the city except when used in defense of person or property or pursuant to lawful directions of law-enforcement officers, and may regulate the display of firearms on the streets, sidewalks, alleys, or other public property. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit a city's authority to take action under Article 1A of Chapter 166A of the General Statutes. (1971, c. 698, s. 1; 2012-12, s. 2(zz).)
    "Display" is different than "Carry" and by long standing court precedent, OC is Constitutional and is also backed up by:

    14-409.40. Statewide uniformity of local regulation.(a) It is declared by the General Assembly that the regulation of firearms is properly an issue of general, statewide concern, and that the entire field of regulation of firearms is preempted from regulation by local governments except as provided by this section.
    (a1) The General Assembly further declares that the lawful design, marketing, manufacture, distribution, sale, or transfer of firearms or ammunition to the public is not an unreasonably dangerous activity and does not constitute a nuisance per se and furthermore, that it is the unlawful use of firearms and ammunition, rather than their lawful design, marketing, manufacture, distribution, sale, or transfer that is the proximate cause of injuries arising from their unlawful use. This subsection applies only to causes of action brought under subsection (g) of this section.
    (b) Unless otherwise permitted by statute, no county or municipality, by ordinance, resolution, or other enactment, shall regulate in any manner the possession, ownership, storage, transfer, sale, purchase, licensing, or registration of firearms, firearms ammunition, components of firearms, dealers in firearms, or dealers in handgun components or parts.
    (c) Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this section, a county or municipality, by zoning or other ordinance, may regulate or prohibit the sale of firearms at a location only if there is a lawful, general, similar regulation or prohibition of commercial activities at that location. Nothing in this subsection shall restrict the right of a county or municipality to adopt a general zoning plan that prohibits any commercial activity within a fixed distance of a school or other educational institution except with a special use permit issued for a commercial activity found not to pose a danger to the health, safety, or general welfare of persons attending the school or educational institution within the fixed distance.
    (d) No county or municipality, by zoning or other ordinance, shall regulate in any manner firearms shows with regulations more stringent than those applying to shows of other types of items.
    (e) A county or municipality may regulate the transport, carrying, or possession of firearms by employees of the local unit of government in the course of their employment with that local unit of government.
    (f) Nothing contained in this section prohibits municipalities or counties from application of their authority under G.S. 153A-129, 160A-189, 14-269, 14-269.2, 14-269.3, 14-269.4, 14-277.2, 14-415.11, 14-415.23, including prohibiting the possession of firearms in public-owned buildings, on the grounds or parking areas of those buildings, or in public parks or recreation areas, except nothing in this subsection shall prohibit a person from storing a firearm within a motor vehicle while the vehicle is on these grounds or areas. Nothing contained in this section prohibits municipalities or counties from exercising powers provided by law in states of emergency declared under Article 1A of Chapter 166A of the General Statutes.
    (g) The authority to bring suit and the right to recover against any firearms or ammunition marketer, manufacturer, distributor, dealer, seller, or trade association by or on behalf of any governmental unit, created by or pursuant to an act of the General Assembly or the Constitution, or any department, agency, or authority thereof, for damages, abatement, injunctive relief, or any other remedy resulting from or relating to the lawful design, marketing, manufacture, distribution, sale, or transfer of firearms or ammunition to the public is reserved exclusively to the State. Any action brought by the State pursuant to this section shall be brought by the Attorney General on behalf of the State. This section shall not prohibit a political subdivision or local governmental unit from bringing an action against a firearms or ammunition marketer, manufacturer, distributor, dealer, seller, or trade association for breach of contract or warranty for defect of materials or workmanship as to firearms or ammunition purchased by the political subdivision or local governmental unit. (1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 727, s. 1; 2002-77, s. 1; 2012-12, s. 2(z).)
    If something is wrong for ONE person to do to another, it is still wrong if a BILLION people do it.

  24. #24
    Regular Member carolina guy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by independence View Post
    Thanks everybody for your input! I sincerely appreciate it. I went ahead and OCed at Elkmont campground, Cade's Cove, Abrams Falls, the sidewalk of a posted visitor's center, and on the side of the road while watching a bear.

    It was a good experience and I had at least 3 rangers look right at my gun and not freak out. There were some sheeple who scowled at me, though. Seriously. I don't think they liked it too much. Very glad to report that things went well and I had a great time! Thanks!

    (*thumbs up*)
    If something is wrong for ONE person to do to another, it is still wrong if a BILLION people do it.

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