Local News

Rules on carrying guns openly in NC complicated

Posted August 16

— Many of the white nationalists who rallied in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend had guns strapped to their hips. Their actions were legal because Virginia allows open carry of handguns for anyone 18 or older.

In North Carolina, the open carry law is more complicated.

Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said, for example, that visible sidearms wouldn't be allowed at a similar rally in North Carolina.

"Protests, you cannot carry," Harrison said, adding that gun owners need to know the nuances of the law.

Those who carry guns openly can't do so at organized sporting events. Schools are off limits, and so are state and federal parks.

At state rest areas, open carry is legal.

Unless otherwise posted, open carry is allowed in restaurants that don't sell alcohol. Once alcohol is added to the mix, however, restrictions apply.

"Open carry can't go into a restaurant that's serving alcohol, but open carry, there's no restriction on that person if he's drinking (elsewhere)," Harrison said.

A bill to ease North Carolina's open carry restrictions cleared the House in June and remains pending in the Senate.

Yet, some gun owners question the need for looser rules.

"If it's not a law enforcement officer, it just seems to me, even as a concealed carry permit holder, really weird that someone would want to walk around with a gun on their side," James Sauls said. "It just seems like maybe you're trying to intimidate others."

"I don't have a problem with open carry," David Wintler said. "It's the mindset of the person carrying it that concerns me."

Harrison said he prefers concealed carry, which requires a obtaining a permit and undergoing training.

"At least you know what the law says and what you can do and can't do, and if you violate that law, you know what to expect," he said. "Open carry, you don't get that."

Despite the violence in Charlottesville that killed a woman and left nearly two dozen people injured, no shots were fired in the confrontation between white nationalists and counter-protesters, and no gun charges were filed.


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  • Anthony Wrenn Aug 17, 12:15 p.m.
    user avatar

    Nowhere does the statue say you can't carry in a bar or restaurant that serves alcohol. It states that you can't consume the alcohol.

  • Tim Orr Aug 17, 12:00 p.m.
    user avatar

    I think a responsible member of law enforcement would quote the law that is relevant. Paraphrasing is not acceptable. A responsible reporting agency would do due diligence to see that a reference or link to the law is correct. Either the Sheriff is wrong or the link supplied by the report is wrong. The Sheriff says open carry cannot go into a restaurant with alcohol, but the chart disagrees. But this is a Liberal reporting agency so I shouldn't expect them to be concerned about accuracy.

  • Wayne R. Douglas Aug 17, 11:04 a.m.
    user avatar

    As a gun owner and a CCH holder, I have no problem with firearms not being legal to carry whether open or concealed, while participating in a protest of any kind. Now by this article, the writer states that "open carry" is not allowed in any restaurant that serves alcohol and that is true. However, for a CCH holder, it is perfectly legal to carry concealed, per N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.3. Of course that CCH holder CANNOT consume even 1 sip of an alcoholic beverage. That same stat. also allows concealed carry on any premises where a fee is charged for admission unless the premises is posted to prohibit the possession or carrying of firearms.

  • Patrick Gentry Aug 16, 10:31 p.m.
    user avatar

    Shame on Sheriff Harrison for blatantly lying about NC law, this is what you get from liberal republicans.

    You cannot carry open or concealed if you're participating in a protest unless your off duty or retired law enforcement which are exempted from almost all NC gun laws. Doesn't matter if you have a conceal carry permit or not.

    But anyone not participating in the protest or demonstration like that gentlemen that brandished a pistol during the Charlotte riots last year when people blocked the road and tried to threaten this law abiding citizen, can carry concealed or open as long as doing so is lawful.

    Sheriff Harrison's comments make it appear that anyone with a weapon regardless of if they are a participant or not is breaking the law which is incorrect.