Weapons Charges Where There is a “No Gun” Sign
In a world that’s increasingly conscious of safety and security, “No Gun” signs have become commonplace in many establishments and public areas.
These signs, which stand as silent sentinels at entrances, aim to deter potential threats and maintain a safe environment for everyone inside. However, the mere presence of such a sign can open up a Pandora’s box of legal implications if someone is found with a weapon on the premises.
Learn about the weapons charges you can face in the zones marked by a “No Gun” sign AND those without. Find out the nuances of the law, potential penalties, and your rights when facing charges.
NO CONCEALED OR OPEN CARRY WHERE THERE IS A “NO GUNS” SIGN
A private establishment or school may post a sign prohibiting weapons or firearms like the sign below offered by SafetySign.com.
According to North Carolina law, a private establishment has the right to post signage prohibiting the possession of weapons or firearms on its premises.
Specifically, North Carolina General Statute § 14-415.11(c) prohibits individuals with concealed carry permits from carrying in places where there are notices.
Failure to heed such signs could result in a Class 2 misdemeanor charge.
EXAMPLE OF WHAT NOT TO DO
Perhaps you have a concealed carry permit in North Carolina and decide to visit your local shopping mall. Upon entering, you pass a sign that clearly reads, “No Guns Allowed on These Premises.” However, you want to protect your family in case something happens, so you ignore the sign.
Regardless of your permit or intentions, continuing onto the property while carrying your weapon is unlawful. If you choose to ignore the sign and law enforcement finds out, you could face a Class 2 misdemeanor. For a second or later charge, you can face a Class H felony charge.
If you face weapons charges, always speak with an experienced attorney immediately for your best outcome. A knowledgeable attorney can help you develop a rock-solid defense, but not if you’ve “shot yourself in the foot” by talking with police, jail cell mates, or in recorded phone calls at the precinct.
PLACES WITHOUT “NO GUN” SIGNS, BUT CARRIED WEAPONS ARE ILLEGAL
North Carolina statutes Ch 14 Article 35 lays out the places where carrying a weapon is illegal, including the following places:
Any person with a concealed handgun permit can keep a handgun in a closed compartment or container within their locked vehicle or in a locked container securely affixed to the car. You may unlock the vehicle to enter or exit the vehicle provided the firearm remains in the closed compartment at all times, and the vehicle is locked immediately following your entrance or exit.
STATE AND LOCAL BUILDINGS
- State Capitol Building, the Executive Mansion, the Western Residence of the Governor, or on the grounds of any of these buildings, and any building housing any court of the General Court of Justice.
- State office buildings or any portion of a building in which there are State offices
- Law Enforcement or Correctional Facilities
- A local government unit may adopt an ordinance to permit the posting of a prohibition against carrying a concealed handgun, per GS 14-415.11(c), on local government buildings and their appurtenant premises.
EVENTS OCCURRING IN PUBLIC
It is illegal for anyone involved in or observing a protest or picket at a private healthcare facility or public location controlled by the State or its subdivisions to carry or have access to a dangerous weapon knowingly.
A local government may prohibit, by posting, the carrying of a concealed handgun on municipal and county recreational facilities that are specifically identified by the unit of local government.
WEAPONS ON CAMPUS OR OTHER EDUCATIONAL PROPERTY
Weapons are illegal at any school building or bus, school campus, grounds, recreational area, athletic field, or other property owned, used, or operated by any board of education or school board of trustees, or directors for the administration of any school.
CLASS I FELONY
It’s a Class I felony to knowingly possess any gun, rifle, pistol, or other firearm on educational property or to a curricular or extracurricular activity sponsored by a school.
CLASS F FELONY
to willfully discharge any firearm on educational property. However, this does not apply to a BB gun, stun gun, air rifle, or air pistol.
CLASS G FELONY
It’s a Class G felony to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any dynamite cartridge, bomb, grenade, mine, or powerful explosive on educational property or to a curricular or extracurricular activity sponsored by a school. However, this doesn’t apply to fireworks.
CLASS I FELONY
It’s a Class I Felony to cause, encourage, or aid a minor less than 18 years old to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any gun, rifle, pistol, or other firearm of any kind on educational property. However, this subsection does not apply to a BB gun, stun gun, air rifle, or air pistol.
CLASS G FELONY
It’s a Class G felony to cause, encourage, or aid a minor under 18 years old to possess any dynamite cartridge, bomb, grenade, mine, or powerful explosive on educational property. This does not apply to fireworks.
CLASS 1 MISDEMEANOR
It’s a Class 1 misdemeanor to possess these items:
- BB gun
- Stun gun
- Air rifle
- Air pistol
- Bowie knife
- Leaded cane
- Switchblade knife
- Metallic knuckles
- Razors (except solely for personal shaving)
- Any sharp-pointed or edged instrument (except instructional supplies, unaltered nail files and clips, and tools used solely for preparation of food, instruction, and maintenance, on educational property) (1)
It is also a Class 1 misdemeanor to cause, encourage, or aid a minor who is less than 18 years old to possess the times listed above.
WHEN CONCEALED CARRY IS LEGAL AT EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
Suppose you have a concealed handgun permit valid under Chapter 14 Article 54B of NC state statutes. In that case, if you meet the following conditions, you can legally have a firearm on educational campuses.
- The handgun is in a closed compartment or container within your locked vehicle or is in a locked container securely affixed to your car AND
- You only unlock the vehicle to enter or exit the car while the firearm remains in the closed compartment at all times AND
- You immediately lock the vehicle following your entrance or exit of the vehicle.
- You have a handgun concealed on yourself, AND you remain in the locked vehicle and only unlock the car to allow the entrance or exit of another person.
- You are within a locked vehicle and remove the handgun from concealment only for the amount of time reasonably necessary to do either of the following:
- Move the handgun from concealment on yourself to a closed compartment or container within the vehicle.
- Move the handgun from within a closed compartment or container within the vehicle to concealment on yourself.
You may defend yourself against prosecution if:
- You were authorized to have a concealed handgun in a locked vehicle AND
- You removed the handgun from the vehicle only in response to a threatening situation in which deadly force was justified under GS 14-51.3.
BUILDING A DEFENSE TO GUN CHARGES IN NORTH CAROLINA
Navigating gun charges in North Carolina requires a keen understanding of the State’s statutes and the available defenses. If you find yourself facing such charges, you might be able to use the following defenses as outlined in the provided North Carolina statutes:
LEGITIMATE USE OF FIREARM
It might be your defense that:
- The weapon in question was not a firearm.
- You were engaged in or on the way to or from, an activity where you legitimately used the weapon
- You possessed the weapon purely for that legitimate use
- At no point did you use or attempt to use the weapon for any illegal purpose
As the defendant, the onus is on you to prove your defense. That’s why an experienced criminal defense attorney can make all the difference in arguing your case.
For military members, another defense might be available:
- The deadly weapon in question is a handgun
- You, as the defendant, are a military permittee as defined under GS 14-415.10(2a)
- You can provide the court with proof of deployment as per GS 14-415.10(3a)
Being familiar with these defenses is essential, but it’s equally important to consult with a legal expert to evaluate the strength and applicability of these defenses in your particular situation.
OUR EXPERIENCED WEAPONS CHARGES DEFENSE ATTORNEYS CAN HELP
At Scharff Law Firm, our experienced weapons charge defense attorneys understand North Carolina’s gun laws and the defenses available to those facing charges. With our dedicated and knowledgeable team by your side, you can confidently navigate the complexities of the legal system.
We believe in upholding the rights of our clients and crafting robust defense strategies tailored to individual circumstances. Facing a weapons charge can be daunting, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Let our experts guide you every step of the way and work diligently to achieve the best possible outcome for your case.
Get in touch for a free consultation to start working on your defense today.