Update On Open Carry Of Firearms In North Carolina State Parks

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 4 weeks ago

If you will recall, I discussed signage in Mount Mitchell State Park that led me to file a complaint.  I had an extended email conversation with Bryan Dowdy with the North Carolina State Park Service.  It is reproduced below.

Mr. Smith,

Your email complaint was forwarded to me for a reply.

The ‘Welcome To’ sign as pictured in your post is correct.   Per North Carolina Administrative Code, 07 NCAC 13B .0901(a) and (b), FIREARMS;  The possession of firearms whether they are openly carried or carried concealed are prohibited in / on all North Carolina State Parks lands and waters unless a person has a valid concealed handgun permit and thus that person may possess a concealed handgun provided they are adhering to the requirements set forth in G.S. 14-415.11.  There are three exceptions to this Rule in that the State Park lands and waters at Falls Lake, Jordan Lake and Kerr Lake State Recreation Areas are owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and subject to separate federal regulations governing firearms.

I have included the applicable NC Administrative Code below for your information.

Additionally, we do not permit hunting on State Parks lands (including at Mount Mitchell State Park) so anyone openly carrying a weapon or hunting black bear or other animals on the State Park would be unlawful.  You may be confused with the US Forest Service lands and/or North Carolina Wildlife Game lands which border State Park lands around Mount Mitchell State Park which do allow limited hunting.

SECTION .0900 – FIREARMS: EXPLOSIVES: FIRES: ETC.

07 NCAC 13B .0901 FIREARMS: WEAPONS: EXPLOSIVES

(a) Except as provided in Paragraph (b) or G.S. 14-269, no person except authorized park employees, their agents, or contractors, shall carry or possess firearms, air guns, air soft guns, paint ball guns, bows and arrows, sling shots, or lethal missiles of any kind within any park.

(b) A person with a valid concealed handgun permit issued by one of the United States that adheres to the requirements set forth in G.S. 14-415.11 may carry a concealed handgun on the grounds and waters of a state park. Persons acting under this exception should take notice that certain Division managed properties are owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and subject to separate regulations governing firearms. Accordingly, concealed handguns are prohibited at Falls Lake, Jordan Lake and Kerr Lake State Recreation Areas.

(c) The possession or use of cap pistols is prohibited. The possession or use of dynamite or other powerful explosives as defined in G.S. 14-284.1 is prohibited.

(d) The possession or use of pyrotechnics is prohibited except for pyrotechnics exhibited, used, or discharged in connection with an authorized public exhibition and approved by the Director of the Division of Parks and Recreation, or designee. Persons wishing to possess or use pyrotechnics in connection with a public exhibition, such as a public celebration, shall file an application for a special use permit with the park superintendent. All applicants shall enter an indemnification agreement with the Department and obtain general liability and property damage insurance, with limits as determined by the Secretary or designee, which are reasonably necessary to cover possible liability for damage to property and bodily injury or damage to persons which may result from, or be caused by, the public exhibition of pyrotechnics or any act(s) or omission(s) on the part of the applicant(s) or the applicant’s agents, servants, employees, or subcontractors presenting the public exhibition. The Division Director or designee may deny an application as deemed necessary to protect the public health, safety, and welfare, or to protect the natural resources of the park unit.

History Note: Authority G.S. 14-269; 14-410; 14-415; 14-415.11; 14-415.24; 113-8; 143B-135.16; 143B-135.43;

Eff. February 1, 1976;

Amended Eff. October 1, 1984; January 1, 1983;

Temporary Amendment Eff. July 2, 1997;

Temporary Amendment Expired September 29, 1998;

Amended Eff. January 1, 2014; April 1, 1999;

Transferred from 15A NCAC 12B .0901 Eff. April 1, 2017.

Thank you for your inquiry and we hope this information adequately addresses your concerns.

Sincerely,

Bryan Dowdy


Bryan,

Thank for your thoughtful reply.  You are correct about hunting – I was thinking about area appurtenant to the state park.  I appreciate the correction.

However, the administrative code to which you referred simply does not say what you said it says.

It discusses concealed carry, and since when I recently visited Mt. Mitchell I have a CHP, I complied with the law as written.  However, the admin code is simply a recapitulation of already existing laws concerning the carry of concealed handguns throughout NC.

The admin code simply does not say that open carriers must be permitted, and that still appears to me to be in contravention of state law.

Sincerely,

Herschel Smith


Mr. Smith,

Subsection (a) of NCAC 07 NCAC 13B .0901 FIREARMS:,  clearly states that no person except authorized park employees, agents, contractors shall carry or possess firearms unless they have a concealed handgun permit or fall within one of the categories in G.S. 14-269 (e.g. law enforcement officers, retired law enforcement officers, active duty military when acting under orders to be armed, etc.).   This prohibition is defined as open or concealed carry of any firearm.

This original Administrative Code prohibiting the possession or carrying of any firearms, open or concealed has been in place for at least 30 years with the exception where we amended the Rule in January 2014 to allow persons with Concealed Handgun Permits to possess a concealed handgun on State Park lands.

(a) Except as provided in Paragraph (b) or G.S. 14-269, no person except authorized park employees, their agents, or contractors, shall carry or possess firearms, air guns, air soft guns, paint ball guns, bows and arrows, sling shots, or lethal missiles of any kind within any park.

Sincerely,

Bryan Dowdy


I understand your position Mr. Dowdy.  I don’t want this to be contentious, I just want clarity and I think we’ve achieved that.  One final question, sir.

I note that you’ve referred to administrative code, not general statutes of NC.  To me, this is an important distinction.  I work in an area where we must comply with the CFR, but everything is open to interpretation since these are “rules” and “regulations” rather than “law.”  As such, Congress never voted on them – they merely empowered someone else (i.e., the executive) to make such rules.

I take it that you see the administrative code as regulations / rules, but your agents apply those regulations as laws?  If so, then you have effectively banned unpermitted carry when it is not banned by state law (as long as said carry is open).  I see that as a constitutional and legal issue ripe for litigation.

Thank you for the exchange sir.

Herschel Smith

My readers and I have discussed the difference between “law” and “regulation” in excruciating detail before, so there is no reason to recapitulate that conversation.

To date I have not received a response to this last email.  As you can see, my charge is that the NC State Park Service and appurtenant groups (NC DoJ) have promulgated regulations (i.e., that all carry of weapons in state parks must be permitted, whether open or concealed) that are simply not supported by state laws, since North Carolina is a traditional open carry state.

At least, contrary to Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison, he doesn’t assert that open carry is disallowed in state parks.  This is smart and complies with North Carolina law, but the requirement for permitting in state parks for open carry simply does not.  This is ripe for litigation in my opinion.


Comments

  1. On August 21, 2017 at 1:02 am, Dan said:

    You are correct…it is ‘ripe for litigation’. What that means is that although they have no actual law specifically prohibiting the open carry
    of firearms they will enforce that edict regardless and subject their victim
    to the time, grief and expense of attempting to do battle in the courts with the state….an entity that in the real world has almost infinite resources. Meanwhile the victim of this “lawfare” is subject to all manner of costs and abuses with NO guarantee of prevailing even if they have the law and precedent on their side. That is why this is a form of “lawfare”…..the use of the legal system as a weapon to abuse and enslave citizens.

  2. On August 21, 2017 at 1:29 am, DAN III said:

    Mr. Smith,

    “This is ripe for litigation….”

    Good luck with that. The private citizen attempting to litigate against the tyranny of government better have deep pockets. I am surprised how folks beseech “going to attorney” as though money is no object. Perhaps you Mr. Smith should litigate the matter ? If you win the black-robed bandit will require the state to pay all your legal fees. Just don’t plan on winning because the .gov will twist and construe the Webster’s Dictionary to define words of the law/rules/regulations to mean other than what Webster’s defines. In turn, to justify their bastardization of said law, etc.

    It is not called the “Deep State” for nothing.

  3. On August 21, 2017 at 1:44 am, DAN III said:

    Dan,

    How correct you are. I won a federal, civil jury trial 8 years ago this month. The defendent .gov entity appealed. The presiding judge decided a jury decision favoring the citizen meant nothing. He voided the jury decision and award. Upon appeal to 3rd Circuit, they supported the black-robed bastard (2-1) who tossed the jury decision aside that ruled for the me, the citizen. The next step would be an appeal to SCOTUS. After 4 years of litigating and tens of thousands of dollars (which I had to take a loan for) in attorney fees, I was out of money.

    “Lawfare”, how right you are Dan. Instead of “Going to attorney” the time is drawing ever nearer to “Going to guns”. I have no faith in the fUSA legal system. For me a short rope and a tall tree would be the just desserts for every .gov member of the “justus” system.

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You are currently reading "Update On Open Carry Of Firearms In North Carolina State Parks", entry #17570 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Firearms,Guns and was published August 20th, 2017 by Herschel Smith.

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