2011 Legislation Regarding Firearms

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I’m back from a fantastic vacation, and am grateful to Jamie for keeping the blog afloat while I was gone. Blogging is a lot of fun but it can also be a little bit of work, and it’s great to have colleagues who are willing to shoulder the load when needed.

Because I have a short presentation coming up about gun control in North Carolina, I spent some time looking at the legislation enacted this session regarding firearms. There are quite a few changes of note, so I thought I’d share the key points.

The General Assembly considered a number of bills related to the regulation of firearms in the 2011 session. The most important enacted bill was S.L. 2011-268, Amend Various Gun Laws/Castle Doctrine, legislation strongly supported by the NRA. As the short title suggests, the bill contains multiple provisions, most but not all of which expand gun rights. Significant components of the bill are as follows:

  • Repeals existing G.S. 14-51.1, Use of Deadly Physical Force against an Intruder, and effectively replaces it with new G.S. 14-51.2 et seq. The new provisions codify some aspects of the law of self-defense, specifically guaranteeing the right to use deadly force against an intruder into a home, motor vehicle, or workplace, whereas the previous statute applied only to homes. The new statute also provides that there is no duty to retreat before using such force.
  • Amends G.S. 14-269.8(a) so that individuals subject to domestic violence protective orders are no longer prohibited from owning firearms. However, it remains unlawful for a person to possess firearms while subject to such an order.
  • Enacts new G.S. 14-408.1, which makes it a felony to solicit an illegal gun sale or to give a dealer or seller false information with the intent to deceive the dealer or seller about the legality of a gun sale.
  • Amends G.S. 14-269, Carrying Concealed Weapons, in several ways.
    • Amends the provision in subsection (a1)(2) that allows a person who holds a concealed carry permit to carry a concealed handgun to specify that it applies only when “the person is carrying the concealed handgun in accordance with the scope of the concealed handgun permit.”
    • Adds new exemptions for district attorneys, assistant district attorneys, and district attorney investigators who have concealed carry permits, except while in a courtroom or while drinking, and for certain retired law enforcement officers who have concealed carry permits. As to district attorneys, assistant district attorneys, and district attorney investigators who have concealed carry permits, the bill also adds new G.S. 14-415.27, and amends the concealed carry permit statute, G.S. 14-415.11, with the net effect being that those individuals may carry concealed weapons almost anywhere in the state except courtrooms and where prohibited by federal law.
    • Allows detention and corrections officers to keep firearms locked in their vehicles at work.
  • Amends G.S. 14-288.8, which regulates “weapons of mass destruction,” such as bombs, grenades, machine guns, and short-barreled weapons, and amends G.S. 14-409, Machine Guns and Other Like Weapons. The bill adds new provisions to both statutes that allow a person to possess such weapons under state law so long as the person may possess the weapons under federal law. The relevant federal laws are codified at 26 U.S.C. § 5801 et seq.
  • Expands concealed carry permit holders’ authority to have weapons on certain state property. For example, permit holders now may keep weapons securely locked in their vehicles on the grounds of the “State Capitol Building, the Executive Mansion, [and] the Western Residence of the Governor,” and may carry concealed handguns in state parks.
  • Amends G.S. 14-415.23, Statewide Uniformity, to allow local governments to prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons at playgrounds, athletic fields and facilities, and swimming pools. Local governments may not, however, prohibit the storage of firearms in locked vehicles at recreational facilities.

The General Assembly also enacted S.L. 2011-56, Repeal Crossbow Purchase Permit Requirement, which repeals the portion of G.S. 14-402, the purchase permit statute, that had prohibited the sale or purchase of a crossbow without a permit issued by the sheriff. The statute remains applicable to handguns.

The legislature considered a number of firearms-related bills that didn’t pass, including H 111, Handgun Permit Valid in Parks and Restaurants, which would have allowed concealed carry permit holders to carry concealed handguns in state parks, and in restaurants where alcohol is sold unless expressly prohibited by the proprietor. Note that S.L. 2011-268, summarized above, includes the state park provision, meaning that the restaurant provision is the only provision of this bill that was not otherwise enacted. However, this bill passed the House, and so may be considered by the Senate in the 2012 legislative session.

The legislature also considered, but did not pass, H 241, the North Carolina Firearms Freedom Act, which would have declared that “[a] personal firearm . . . or ammunition that is manufactured . . . in North Carolina and that remains within the borders of North Carolina is not subject to federal law or federal regulation, including registration, under the authority of Congress to regulate interstate commerce.” Even if passed, this bill would likely would have had no effect, as the General Assembly lacks the authority to determine the constitutionality of federal laws. Finally, the General Assembly did not act on S 765, No Firearms Questions During Medical Exams, which would have prohibited health care providers from asking patients about gun ownership and from refusing to see patients who are gun owners. Somewhat similar legislation was enacted in Florida, and is now the subject of a lawsuit backed by the American Medical Association and other physician groups, as described here.

I would be especially interested in your thoughts and comments about which parts of the enacted legislation will be most controversial, useful, troublesome, or interesting; feedback on those issues would help inform my upcoming presentation.

15 comments on “2011 Legislation Regarding Firearms

  1. Also, HB271, states, in summary, certified probation/parole officers may carry concealed off duty, without the need of concealed carry permit.

  2. The deadly force statute is a long time coming. It is a little ridiculous to ask a resident to retreat to the far reaches of his/her home before using deadly force. If someone has broken into your home, it should be looked upon as an overt act of malice, especially if they are AWARE that someone is home. There have been too many instances where a criminal, or his family, has been allowed to prosecute the victim for wrongful injury or death due to the homeowner not retreating far enough before using deadly force. If you tell someone you have a weapon and that they need to cease their actions and leave YOUR residence, then they continue, why would one need to wait for them to gain the upper hand if the resident feels threatened with bodily harm and/or death? GOOD DECISION!

  3. It should be noted that these provisions do not go into effect until Dec. 1, so for DA’s, ADA’s, & investigators out there don’t head out for lunch to that restaurant that also happens to serve alcohol while carrying just yet.

  4. Reference to S765; “No firearms questions during medical exams.”
    A firearm is a tool the same as a motor vehicle. Used inappropriately it becomes a deadly weapon. Does the AMA endorse asking patients how many and what types of vehicles they own? More people die in this country every year from M/V deaths than firearms related deaths.
    In fact, statistics show firearm related deaths declining.
    The AMA should stick to medicine and not social engineering!

  5. Jeff: As a qualified retired law enforcement officer, as defined in G.S. 14-415.10, I do not understand, nor do I agree with, NCDOJ allowing us to carry concealed “while consuming alcohol or while alcohol or controlled substance in the blood”…refer to http://www.ncdoj.gov concealed carry–handgun reference chart. This is inconsistent with 14-269(b)(4a) other than the fact that were retired.

  6. With all this discussion of legal self defense with a firearm, what are my rights with bladed weapons? Particularly, I live in a very, VERY, small 2 room home. One entrance; front door only. I own a VERY sharp sword I use for martial arts practice, as well as medium length bladed knife (I own nor possess any firearms). If someone busts down my door at 3 in the morning (my elderly 80 year old mother is sleeping down the hall), I have NO PLACE to “retreat” to. What are my rights if this person or persons makes their way towards me if they are not obviously “armed”? This is a real possibility as something very similar happened to a friend of mine, and I live in an area that is somewhat unsafe.

  7. In response to David:

    You would be authorized to use deadly force with your sword to stop the threat of receiving death or serious bodily injury.

  8. Hi I am relocating to North Carolina from Georgia. I have a concealed gun permit in Georgia and see NC recognizes reciprocity. I would like to purchase a gun. Should I purchase it in North Carolina or in Georgia? Would there be things I need to do in North Carolina to register the gun?

    Thank you for the information.

  9. Hi my name its William montanez I made the mistake of walking in to a wake county building recently I was on my way to the doctor with my daughter so I didn’t pay any attention to the door in the building somebody saw the weapon so the security guard came up to me and ask me if I can put the gun in the car cause I’m not allowed to go in there with my weapon so i apologize and say no problem I’ll put it in my car so I did and follow me ro the car to make shure that I put the gun in the car so then I went back in to the office and he call the cops so they search me in front of everybody then I went in to a room ask me some questions then they put me in the patrol car they search my car got the gun the holsters and a magnet took it away from me and charge me with a a1 misdeminer for going in to the building with my weapon now I’m sorry that I went in but I don’t whant to loose my right s of carrying a weapon or my permits what do you think it’s going to happen?

    • Yea…..:( Sorry.. I don’t think the outcome will be good. Pending on your past.. you’ll prob get probation. But breaking a gun law when they only have so few restrictions?? You cant have weapons on probation. After that year?? I don’t know if they will reissue your permit being that was the law you broke? Good question.

  10. If DA, ADA and DA Investigators can carry concealed why can’t Public Defenders and their Investigators carry concealed. I am referring to the state Public Defenders & Investigators which fall under North Carolina Office of Indigent Defense Services (state employees)?

    • Anyone have a response as to why State employed Public Defenders and Public Defender Investigators are not in same category as District Attorneys and their Investigators when it comes to concealed carry?

  11. I am a correctional officer within the state of nc.
    Why am I not allowed to carry a concealed firearm while off duty?
    I worked with the gang units within the nc dept of prisons, had threats
    on my life. I have beed marked by gang members on numerous occations.
    Now I feel I need to protect me and my family while off duty.
    So why do I have to get a concealed carry permit.
    I go through training at least once a year with firearms.
    I am a certified c/o.
    I feel really like my job isn’t respected.
    I have been assulted…ect…
    I am concerned,while other states allow their off duty c/o’s to carry concealed. We have to carry on duty.
    I had to take an oath to protect the public and nc gov.
    How can we change these laws?

  12. […] North Carolina law recognizes various circumstances in which a person may lawfully use force against the threat of harm. Through decades of decisions, the North Carolina appellate courts have recognized the right to defend oneself, other people, and one’s home and property, among other interests, and have developed rules on when those rights apply and amount to a defense to criminal charges. New G.S. 14-51.2, 14-51.3, and 14-51.4 address several of the circumstances in which a person may use defensive force. The statutes restate the law in some respects and broaden it in others. The courts will have to examine their procedures closely to give effect to the new statutory language. The new statutes are part of S.L. 2011-268 (H 650), which applies to offenses committed on or after December 1, 2011. (That legislation also revised several other statutes to expand the right to own, possess, and carry a gun, which Jeff discussed in a previous post.) […]

  13. … am aretired correctional officer and wonder why being retired the state doesnt feel the need to give us the ability to carry a concealed firearm as if i were still working for the dept of corrections. recieved threats to my person and life daily while with the state.now that am retired the threats didnt just magically go away.

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