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The Second Amendment and Gun Control Laws in North Carolina

The Second Amendment to The United States Constitution was ratified on December 15, 1791, as a part of the United States Bill of Rights.  The Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess and carry firearms and states “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

Two landmark decisions were made by The United States Supreme Court, establishing this interpretation of the Second Amendment. In the first case, District of Columbia v. Heller (2008), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to possess a firearm, unconnected to service in a militia and to use that arm for traditionally lawful purposes, such as self-defense within the home. In the second case, McDonald v. Chicago (2010), the Court ruled that the Second Amendment limits state and local governments to the same extent that it limits the federal government.

In light of recent tragedies involving gun violence, gun control has moved to the forefront of debate. Some of the North Carolina firearms laws are outlined below and both the North Carolina and Federal laws as they are currently written are outlined in detail by the North Carolina Department of Justice

Requirements for the purchase of firearms in North Carolina:

-When a person desires to purchase a handgun from a federally- licensed dealer, the person needs to present a valid permit to purchase a handgun or valid North Carolina issued concealed carry permit.

-Under North Carolina law, it is unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to sell, give away, transfer, purchase or receive at any place in the state, any pistol, unless the purchaser or receiver has first obtained a license or permit to receive such pistol by the Sheriff of the county where the purchaser or receiver resides, or the purchaser or receiver possesses a valid North Carolina concealed carry permit.§ 14-402(a)

Who Is Not Eligible for a Permit?

-Under North Carolina General Statute § 14-404, you are not eligible if one of more of the following apply:

(1)        One who is under an indictment or information for or has been convicted in any state, or in any court of the United States, of a felony (other than an offense pertaining to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, or restraints of trade). However, a person who has been convicted of a felony in a court of any state or in a court of the United States and (i) who is later pardoned, or (ii) whose firearms rights have been restored pursuant to G.S. 14-415.4, may obtain a permit, if the purchase or receipt of a pistol permitted in this Article does not violate a condition of the pardon or restoration of firearms rights.
(2)        One who is a fugitive from justice.
(3)        One who is an unlawful user of or addicted to marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, or narcotic drug (as defined in 21 U.S.C. § 802).
(4)        One who has been adjudicated mentally incompetent or has been committed to any mental institution.
(5)        One who is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States.
(6)        One who has been discharged from the Armed Forces of the United States under dishonorable conditions.
(7)        One who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his or her citizenship.
(8)        One who is subject to a court order that:
a.         Was issued after a hearing of which the person received actual notice, and at which the person had an opportunity to participate;
b.         Restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of the person or child of the intimate partner of the person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and
c.         Includes a finding that the person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the intimate partner or child; or by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury.

By Lauren Seidel, Paralegal

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