I Got Pulled Over with a Gun, Am I In Trouble?

police pulled over

While North Carolina has changed a lot of its gun laws, the rules and regulations for carrying a concealed weapon have not changed. A weapon is considered concealed if it meets two separate criteria: first, if it is hidden from view; and second, if it is easily or readily accessible. In order to lawfully carry a concealed firearm in North Carolina, you must possess a Concealed Handgun Permit, issued by the local sheriff. However, possessing a Concealed Handgun Permit does is not the only regulation that you must follow.

One of the more common violations that leads to a person being charged with a CCG violation is failure to tell the officer that you have the weapon. When you are pulled over and the officer approaches your vehicle, one of the first things you should disclose to the officer is that you are a concealed handgun permit holder and that you have a firearm in the vehicle. Found in N.C.G.S. 14-415.21, failure to disclose the presence of a firearm being lawfully carried is an infraction and could carry a fine of up to $500 or require you to surrender your permit.

Another common violation is carrying a concealed gun after consuming alcohol or some other controlled substance. Governed by N.C.G.S. 14-415.11(c2), North Carolina law makes it illegal to carry a gun while consuming alcohol or at any time when there is alcohol or some other controlled substance in the bloodstream. This is not the same test as a DWI. In a DWI, in order to be found to be impaired the state usually has to prove that your alcohol content is at least a .08. For the purposes of the concealed carry violation, even a .01 would be sufficient to prove that you committed a crime.

The last common situation that comes up with concealed carry is when you go to certain government buildings, like courthouses, or schools. First, it is important to know that under North Carolina Law, it is NEVER legal to carry a gun into a school. It is also NEVER legal to carry a gun in any form in any courthouse in the state of North Carolina. So what do you do when you carry a gun and have to go to a school or courthouse? First, you should always have a lockable container in your vehicle, such as a safe or other form of containment device. If you have to go to one of these places, lock the gun in the safe and lock the vehicle. DO NOT take the gun outside the car. As long as the gun stays in a locked container, in our locked vehicle you are in compliance with the law.

Easy Tips to Avoid these issues:

  1. Whenever you are stopped by the police for any reason, even if you don’t think you did anything wrong, or if it is a simple traffic stop, tell the officer immediately that you have a valid concealed carry permit and that you have a gun on or about your person.
  2. If you are going to be drinking, do not carry a gun. If you find yourself in a position that you have your gun on you and you are going to be drinking, place the gun in the trunk of the car or in a locked case in the vehicle as far from the driver seat as possible.
  3. Always have some kind of locked containment device, such as a small personal safe or stop box in your vehicle. This will make it a much more seamless transition if you have to travel to a government building where you cannot carry.
  4. Make sure that you have an update Concealed Handgun Permit. If you have changed your address, make sure that you have the proper forms filled out and on your person. Finally, it is important to know that even though North Carolina has done away with the need for a pistol purchase permit, if you used one of those in the past to purchase your weapon, it does NOT give you the right to carry your weapon concealed.
  5. Ask a lawyer, if you have questions about these or other laws regarding purchasing or carrying a gun call Jetton and Meredith today.