If you’ve been arrested on gun charges or are under investigation for crimes related to firearms, the time to speak with a defense attorney is now. Gun charges are serious, both at the state and federal level, and a conviction can not only lead to long prison sentences, it can affect you for the rest of your life.
At Sandman, Finn, & Fitzhugh, we have over 50 years of combined legal experience and fight on our clients’ behalf in both state and federal crimes. As gun and firearms charge attorneys, we have in-depth knowledge of United States and North Carolina gun laws and will use our knowledge and experience to create a strategic defense.
North Carolina Gun Laws
Gun laws in North Carolina are complicated but a lack of knowledge of the law doesn’t prevent you from getting arrested on charges. To help you get a better understanding of what the laws really are, we are breaking down some of the most causes of arrest on gun charges.
Who Can Purchase aNd Carry a Gun in North Carolina?
To purchase a gun in North Carolina, you have to first have a permit to purchase or a permit to carry a concealed weapon. It is illegal to own an unlicensed firearm, so even if you purchase it in a private sale, you still have to have the permit and make sure it’s licensed.
If your gun is licensed, open carry is legal throughout much of the state. You don’t need to have a permit to have a registered gun visible on your person or in your vehicle. However, local governments can have laws restricting open carry, such as Chapel Hill, and it’s illegal to have a gun visible at a school and at the State Capitol.
It is legal to carry a concealed weapon after you’ve been issued a North Carolina Concealed Handgun Permit. Requirements to obtain this permit include:
- Meeting all Federal Law Requirements to carry a weapon.
- Being 21 years old (with exceptions made for those in the military).
- Completing an 8-hour approved handgun training class.
- Living in North Carolina as a resident for 30 days and be a resident of the county you’re filing in.
- Being a legal U.S. citizen or having lawful permanent resident alien status.
- Not having a physical or mental infirmity that would prevent safely handling a gun.
- Not being convicted of DWI within three years prior to applying.
- Has not been determined (legally) to be lacking the mental capacity to carry a gun or is mentally ill.
Who Can’t Carry or purchase a gun in North Carolina?
As gun and firearms charge attorneys in Raleigh, we often defend our clients against the following weapons offenses:
- Carrying a concealed gun without a permit is a Class 2 misdemeanor, punishable by up to 60 days in jail for the first offense or a Class I felony, punishable by up to 10 months in prison for a second offense.
- Owning or possessing a gun after being convicted of a felony is a Class G felony, which can carry 25 months in prison.
- Carrying a firearm on a school property or at an extracurricular event is a Class I felony.
- Buying a firearm or having one in your possession while under a 50B restraining order is a Class H felony which is punishable by up to 20 months in prison.
- Changing or removing a serial number from a gun is a Class H felony.
Federal Gun and Firearms Charges
It’s important to note that in addition to North Carolina state laws for guns and firearms, there are strict federal laws in place regarding guns and firearms. Also, any District Attorney is able to turn a state crime over to federal prosecutors, and, as there’s a greater push to reduce gun violence, we’re seeing more gun and firearms charges being prosecuted at the federal level.
In the Eastern District of North Carolina federal court, which includes Wake Country, Granville County, and counties east, 20 percent of all cases were related to firearms. The average sentence for a gun conviction is 85 months, which is why it is essential to hire a gun and firearms charge attorney.
Federal Restrictions on Carrying and Owning a firearm
Federal law prohibits the following people from owning a gun. This should prevent North Carolina residents from getting a permit, but it’s important to know not to carry a gun or keep one in your possession if you fall into one of these categories:
- Are a “fugitive from justice,” meaning you’ve broken out of jail or have a warrant out for your arrest.
- Are addicted or unlawfully using narcotics or controlled substances.
- Been declared mentally incompetent or have been committed for mental health issues.
- Under indictment for a felony
- Dishonorably discharged veterans
- People who renounced U.S. citizenship
- Undocumented immigrants
- Those with a domestic violence order against them or anyone who has been convicted of domestic violence.
There are also locations you can’t carry a firearm according to federal law, and doing so can lead to arrest:
- Federal courthouses and buildings, including those owned, leased, or rented by a federal department or agency.
- Federal prisons
- National cemeteries
- Military bases (including having an unloaded, secured gun in your vehicle)
- Airports, including the Raleigh-Durham Airport
- Post offices
- Native American Reservations
This includes parking lots and outside property that is under a federal agency.
If you are arrested or charged with a federal crime related to guns or firearms, it’s important to work with attorneys who specifically work on federal cases. At Sandman, Finn, & Fitzhugh, we defend clients in state courts and in the Eastern District of North Carolina federal courts.
Contact Our Gun and Firearms Charge Attorneys in Raleigh
Have you been arrested on state or federal gun charges and need a defense attorney you can rely on? Reach out to us today at (919) 887-8040 or fill out our contact form to set up your free consultation!