Can I carry a gun in NC without having a Concealed Handgun permit?
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.
I don't want to bother with a Concealed Handgun permit, but I want to carry a gun in my car. Is this legal?
Maybe. If the gun is in plain view (such as on the seat, with nothing covering it), most law enforcement personnel would not consider it concealed. There are lots of places and areas in NC where a non-concealed firearm is not permitted though, and there may be law enforcement personnel who take a different view of what constitutes "concealed."
I don't want to get a Concealed Handgun Permit; I just want to carry a gun openly in a holster. Is this legal?
In North Carolina there is no State
law specifically prohibiting the open carry of firearms. Under the theory that if it isn't specifically prohibited it's not illegal, open carry is possible. There are some glaring exceptions to this. They are:
- Private property owners and businesses can post "no guns."
- Firearms are strictly prohibited on state-owned property, except rest areas and state lands where hunting is permitted.
- Local governments can (and do) enact prohibitions against "display of firearms" in cities and/or specific areas within cities or counties, which means they can't be visible. Under this statute there is absolutely no requirement for the city or county to post notice of the display ban.
- Local governments can (and do) enact firearms bans on local government property and in parks and recreational areas.
- Any federally-owned property or federally-regulated property like banks and Post Offices is of course a prohibited area.
- Much of the Outer Banks is "National Seashore," and firearms are prohibited in those areas.
So in theory that leaves everywhere else in the state - except for one more thing. There is a common-law offense in NC called "going armed to the terror of the people." Basically what this means is that if someone sees you carrying a firearm and calls the police to report "person with a gun," you can be charged with this offense. It's not often used in rural areas, but has been used in populated areas. If you are an out-of-state visitor who is not here lawfully hunting or engaged in some overt firearms-related event such as a competition, it will be hard to talk your way out of it.
So is open carry legal in NC? In theory, yes. In practice, maybe.
It seems to us like a very good way to get arrested.