Am I required to keep my guns locked up? (NC Only)

This is the most often incorrectly quoted law we hear about. Now, if the question is “Should I keep my guns locked up” then the answer is different for each person. Do you have kids? Where are your guns stored? What do your children know about firearms? Do your children respect firearms? No one can answer that but you.

However, to quote the law:

NC General Statute “§14‑315.1 Storage of firearms to protect minors” says

a) Any person who resides in the same premises as a minor, owns or possesses a firearm, and stores or leaves the firearm (i) in a condition that the firearm can be discharged and (ii) in a manner that the person knew or should have known that an unsupervised minor would be able to gain access to the firearm, is guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor if a minor gains access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor’s parents or a person having charge of the minor and the minor:
(1) Possesses it in violation of G.S. 14 269.2(b);
(2) Exhibits it in a public place in a careless, angry, or threatening manner;
(3) Causes personal injury or death with it not in self defense; or
(4) Uses it in the commission of a crime.
(b) Nothing in this section shall prohibit a person from carrying a firearm on his or her body, or placed in such close proximity that it can be used as easily and quickly as if carried on the body.
(c) This section shall not apply if the minor obtained the firearm as a result of an unlawful entry by any person.
(d) “Minor” as used in this section means a person under 18 years of age who is not emancipated. (1993, c. 558, s. 2; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 14, s. 11.)
Let’s put that into simple terms. If an adult commits any of the crimes listed in examples 1-4, then those are all crimes already. So the law states that IF a child gains access to a weapon AND commits a crime, THEN you (the owner) can be found guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
IF a child is able to get to a firearm, that is loaded, AND nothing happens… no crime has been committed.


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