Several legislation changes occurred in 2015 that affect how individuals acquire and own firearms in North Carolina. Many of the amendments produced a more favorable environment for gun owners, most notably the first item our gun trust attorney includes below. If you missed gun law changes when they occurred or would like to reexamine the provisions you are already aware of, continue reading and please share this information with your friends and family who own or have an interest in acquiring firearms:

  1. ‘Shall-Sign.’ Just over a dozen states have ‘shall-sign’ laws; North Carolina joined the ranks this year. In August 2015, Governor Pat McCrory signed HB 562, which included new requirements for Chief Law Enforcement Officers (CLEOs). Individuals acquiring suppressors must receive a CLEO’s signed approval. Delays are common due to high-volume requests or a CLEO’s arbitrary postponement. The new law requires CLEOs to provide sign-off within 15 days of suppressor application receipt. The law was retroactively effective, which means all application requests made on or after July 1, 2015 must receive sign-off within 15 days – unless the CLEO finds evidence the applicant is a prohibited person. Those experiencing CLEO sign-off delays in North Carolina might wish to contact the CLEO and respectfully remind them of the new law. Of course, individuals who utilize a gun trust to acquire suppressors and other weapons are not required to obtain CLEO sign-off.
  2. Hunting Freedoms. North Carolina hunters are now permitted to use short-barreled rifles. This provision was also included in HB 562. Additionally, a separate piece of legislation permits hunters, as of October 1, 2015, to hunt on private land on Sundays. Lawmakers on the county-level have an opportunity to create county-specific bans on Sunday hunting. If those changes come to pass, they will not be active until October 2016. The next item addresses potential restrictions the state might place over counties’ ability to create their own restrictions.
  3. Pending County Restrictions. SB394 The Preemption Affirmation Act was last referred to a Senate committee earlier this year. If passed, it would fine elected and public officials that willfully create county-level restrictions that fail to enforce state-level rules and regulations.
  4. Concealed Carry Limitations. The Commission of Agriculture now has authority over deciding whether or not individuals with concealed carry permits will be allowed to carry on premises at the North Carolina State Fair.
  5. Uniform Permit System. HB 562 also included provisions for a streamlined permit system that will include “a standard form created by the State Bureau of Investigation in consultation with the North Carolina Sheriffs’ Association…of a uniform size and material, and shall be designed with security features intended to minimize the ability to counterfeit or replicate the permit.”

On an administrative level, now is an ideal time to create a gun trust and acquire weapons. Potential federal changes (read about ATF 41P) might place substantial burdens on gun trust administration. Individuals should review gun trust options with an attorney while the legal environment is favorable.

By Attorney Samantha Reichle