Firearms owners need to stay educated on both federal and state gun laws to ensure compliance. Gun owners are also subject to local municipality gun legislation.
In North Carolina, the current law provides that county and municipality governments may not pass legislation that supersedes state law (with a few exemptions). Lawmakers can violate laws, but generally illegal acts come with consequences. As of this writing, no penalties are in place for lawmakers who willfully attempt to violate these particular statutes. In late March 2015, SB394 The Preemption Affirmation Act
was filed in a move to prevent violations and impose fines on elected and appointed public officials.
The proposed fine would be capped at $5,000. Willful violations would also be considered grounds for termination. The Act also includes provisions for individuals and groups who suffered as a result of a municipality’s violations to pursue reimbursement of attorney fees, damages capped at $100,000, and punitive damages of $5,000-$100,000 per violation.If the Act becomes law, current laws in violation of the Act would be considered invalid, no matter the intentions of lawmakers:
If a county or municipality violates this section, the court shall declare the improper ordinance, rule, or regulation invalid and shall issue a permanent injunction against the local government prohibiting it from enforcing the ordinance, rule, or regulation. It is no defense that in enacting the ordinance, rule, or regulation, the local government was acting in good faith or upon advice of counsel.
How would violating officials be identified? The Beaufort Observer gave this example:
If a municipal park has a sign posted prohibiting concealed carry of handguns, which is in violation of state law, the elected municipal leaders as well as parks and recreation officials may be liable to be fined under the new penalties.
Uniform gun laws across North Carolina would help prevent residents and visitors from committing accidental felonies and provide streamlined and less complicated lawful carry regulations. Stay connected with our North Carolina gun trust attorneys on Twitter @SouthernGunLaw and Facebook to learn about the status of gun laws.Curious how to manage multi-state gun laws when you travel with your firearms? Check out our earlier posts about relocating with firearms and responsibly traveling with guns on planes.