North Carolina has some of the most relaxed gun laws in the U.S. Open carry of firearms is legal in the state if the gun owner is at least 18 years old and has no felony convictions. But while civilians are allowed to own guns (as long as they meet the requirements), even an open carry state like North Carolina has rules about concealed firearms.
Generally speaking, state law prohibits private citizens from carrying any concealed weapon unless they have a concealed handgun permit and the firearm is a handgun. But what about “novelty” hidden weapons such as small pistols that fit into belt buckles? A gun designed to look like a fancy cane? Or guns small enough to fit under a long-sleeved coat? Can a concealed handgun permit allow a citizen to own these weapons?
State law on ornamental hidden weapons
According to North Carolina law, such hidden novelty weapons give a false impression of being ornamental in nature. Because they’re made to be misleading in nature, in addition to their design allowing them to be readily accessible to owners, they are counted as concealed weapons.
But the law also clarifies that a concealed handgun permit only allows the gun owner to carry a handgun in a concealed manner, not other weapons. It’s illegal to own any other concealable weapon, whether you own a permit or not. The prohibition also extends to brass knuckles, loaded canes, etc.
Penalties for illegally possessing a concealed weapon
If an officer flags you for possessing an illegal concealed weapon, authorities will charge you with a Class 2 misdemeanor for your first offense. The conviction is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 60 days. A second or later offense will result in a Class H felony punishable by a maximum 25-month prison sentence.
Convictions for weapon offenses can stay on your record for years, and like any criminal charge can affect your job and earning potential, among other disadvantages. If you get charged for carrying a concealed weapon, you can challenge it in court with the help of a criminal defense lawyer.