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Who are disqualified from owning or carrying a firearm?

On Behalf of | Apr 29, 2024 | Criminal law

There has been an increase in injuries and thefts involving firearms in North Carolina. To counter this growing statistic, the state has enacted laws that regulate the possession or carrying of a handgun by individuals under 18, with certain exceptions for employment, hunting, education and self-defense.

The state also has laws in place to regulate firearm use more effectively. One such law disqualifies certain individuals from owning or carrying a firearm. The disqualification criteria in North Carolina primarily focus on:

  1. Convicted felons in any jurisdiction unless they have had their firearms rights restored.
  2. Individuals convicted of certain misdemeanors. These misdemeanors include crimes of violence, crimes involving firearms or other deadly weapons, and crimes involving drugs.
  3. Individuals under a current protective order for domestic violence issued by a North Carolina court.
  4. Mentally ill individuals or those committed to a mental institution.

These criteria apply at the state level. Under federal law, individuals under dishonorable conditions, fugitives and those with restraining orders against them also can’t own or carry a firearm. ‘Firearm,’ in this context, includes but is not limited to handguns, shotguns, rifles and assault weapons.

Consequences of illegal possession or carry

The consequences for illegally owning or carrying a firearm in North Carolina can be severe. The severity varies depending on the specifics of the offense. For instance, possession of a firearm by a felon is a Class G felony charge. A Class G felony carries a punishment of imprisonment ranging from 8 to 31 months and potentially more if there are prior convictions.

In addition, an individual in possession of a firearm who has a domestic violence protective order against them could face a Class H felony. This charge could result in imprisonment ranging from 4 to 25 months.

Although the penalties vary, all are felony offenses. These offenses typically involve jail time, fines and loss of certain civil rights. Those facing serious gun charges should consider seeking an attorney. An attorney can help the accused deal with their criminal case when facing felony charges.