Is Public Exhibition of Firearms Illegal in North Carolina?


I ask this because I know I have seen citizens with side-irons here in the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina; but tonight an apparent misidentification brought the local police down on me. Three squad cars, as a matter of fact.

My visiting nephew asked to examine one of my tactical shotguns that I've built-up and keep stashed upstairs. The one I handed him was a Rem 870 Marine Magnum with pretty extreme tactical mod. The thing looks like a plasma rifle out of a sci-fi movie, right.

Well, he wanted to go outside to try the SureFire frontend with its blinding throw (260 lumen), and because it was 11:00 PM I didn't think anybody in the neighborhood would notice. We went out in the front yard with the thing for 5 minutes, okay.

A car drove by, and the driver saw my modified shotgun, and he raced right down the block to the police station and REPORTED me.

He told the cops he'd seen two males with an ASSAULT RIFLE.

So... at 11:15 PM, three squad cars pulled up, and LEOs were on the ground with weapons drawn.

I defused the situation immediately, explained everything, showed the cops the modified shotgun, even let them examine with it.

Their parting advice was: "Next time, do that in the backyard."

Ten-Fo

But my question is, WHY were they so excited about what looked like an assault rifle? Is it illegal to sit around in your front yard examining your rifle?
 

dojoman

New member
Check your local laws but I have a minor theory. This is a classic example of those tv watching Yuppies. Too many people watch these ridiculous tv shows and seem to think they are doing some good by being Mr Report-it. That whole scare tactic of "See something, Say something" has many weak minded idiots thinking they have power. In reality they are just hurting everyone. The cops are now trained to Over React when anything has guns, because "How dare the law aiding public has guns, shame on them"
Could of you went to the backyard? I guess so, but at such a late time of night, I would of done the same. Live not in fear when your doing something legally. The cops should slap Mr Report-It yuppie and get threw his head that not everyone is a terrorist and he should mind his own business. Just my $0.02.
 

jcarmody

New member
Sounds like 'going armed to the terror of the people'. Legal or illegal, cops can do whatever they want.
 
Well, you should've seen the looks on the cops' faces when they saw the shotgun. A mixture of horror and delight. I think they really dug seeing and playing with the thing.
 

Doc Mustang

New member
Why the response?

Two men in the middle of the night outside a house with a gun? There is clearly nothing suspicious there. There is no way that a reasonable person could conclude that something bad might be happening, something bad that might require the rapid response of armed officers of the law.

What you were doing, while not illegal, might not have been the best idea. There is a possibility that it might not have been the safest idea either. Where was the shotgun pointed during all this? Were you treating it as a weapon? keeping safely pointed at all times, finger off the trigger? Or were you treating this instrument of death as a toy? Potential safe practice violations not withstanding, two men in the middle of the night with a shotgun invite a police response and unless they are very careful with thir interactions with the police stand a good chance of getting shot.

I fully support your right to own said shotgun, I fully support your right to carry your shotgun, or any other weapon, in the open, in public in a safe manner. I cannot support treating weapons as objects suitable for "show and tell" unless proper safety precautions are taken.

I am also willing to give you the benefit of the doubt with respect to safety violations. I would caution you that folks who have grown up around and handled guns their entire lives are not immune to accidents. There is a point where familiarity leads to complacency. Which is when accidents are most likely to occur.
 
Two men in the middle of the night outside a house with a gun? There is clearly nothing suspicious there.
While your sarcasm is noted, I'll also point out that PARANOIA and RUSH TO JUDGMENT are the first weapons of the anti-gun community — when we all start reporting each other due to ignorance and unreasoning fear, that's exactly the climate that breeds the LOSS OF LIBERTY.

Would I have done the same thing, would I have immediately reported two men handling an odd-looking firearm in the middle of the night? No. And for very good reason: 1) I would recognize the weapon for what it was, because I know, at a glance, the difference between a tactically-modded shotgun and a MACHINE GUN; 2) I know that back up here in the Smoky Mountains — particularly this area of the Smoky Mountains — it's not at all uncommon to see hunters, gun enthusiasts, and even historical re-enactors handling firearms at any time of day or night; and, 3) I can assess a situation and make a calm judgment about it without rushing straight down to the police department at 11:00 at night.

The witness's action amounted to uneducated, ignorant hysteria. It was uncalled-for.

However, I understand that in a political and social climate of unreasoning FEAR, the law-abiding citizen (that's ME) is expected to yield to the tyranny of the state and ignorance of the uneducated citizenry.

And I say that it's WRONG. Yielding to suspicion and fear is how we lose our Liberty, it's how we've LOST our Liberty in America. It's time for knowledgeable gun owners to make a stand and stop hiding our firearms as though WE are the criminals. As though WE are the terrorists.

We're NOT the terrorists.

Those who find their power through FEAR and IGNORANCE and RUSH TO JUDGMENT are the terrorists. And, yes, I'm pointing directly at our Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of Government in the USA.
 

NavyLCDR

New member
I would say everything went exactly as it should, but my question is why did it take the cops 15 minutes to show up? Maybe it took them that long to muster together 3 units.
 

Doc Mustang

New member
While your sarcasm is noted, I'll also point out that PARANOIA and RUSH TO JUDGMENT are the first weapons of the anti-gun community — when we all start reporting each other due to ignorance and unreasoning fear, that's exactly the climate that breeds the LOSS OF LIBERTY.

There was no permanent loss of liberty in this case. At worst you were temporarily detained while the police determined exactly what was going on. The police were acting on a witness's correct and reasonable statement: "I saw two men, one of them had a gun (which looked scary), in that neighborhood over there."
Would I have done the same thing, would I have immediately reported two men handling an odd-looking firearm in the middle of the night? No. And for very good reason: 1) I would recognize the weapon for what it was, because I know, at a glance, the difference between a tactically-modded shotgun and a MACHINE GUN; 2) I know that back up here in the Smoky Mountains — particularly this area of the Smoky Mountains — it's not at all uncommon to see hunters, gun enthusiasts, and even historical re-enactors handling firearms at any time of day or night; and, 3) I can assess a situation and make a calm judgment about it without rushing straight down to the police department at 11:00 at night.

You appear to be fixated on the misidentification of the firearm in question. The type of firearm makes no difference. You could have had anything resembling a gun from a fully licensed belt fed M-2 to a sharpened stick with a flashlight on the end. If it appeared to be two men with a gun at 11PM in a "neighborhood" the witness was correct to call police and the police were correct to respond.

Perhaps your description of local firearm activity is accurate, but again that makes no difference. I ask you to consider the circumstances.

1. Witness states two men with a gun seen in neighborhood.

2. Gun is described as Assault rifle (police read tactical or scary looking)

3. Is it hunting season?, are there any historical reenactment events scheduled?

4. It is 11PM the likelihood that this is related to home invasion, murder or at the very least alcohol or drugs goes up considerably after dark, particularly after 11PM when most folks are inside their houses watching television or sleeping.

The witness's action amounted to uneducated, ignorant hysteria. It was uncalled-for.

The witness response was reasonable and prudent. If there were two men in my neighborhood after dark with a gun I would want someone to report it.

However, I understand that in a political and social climate of unreasoning FEAR, the law-abiding citizen (that's ME) is expected to yield to the tyranny of the state and ignorance of the uneducated citizenry.

And I say that it's WRONG. Yielding to suspicion and fear is how we lose our Liberty, it's how we've LOST our Liberty in America. It's time for knowledgeable gun owners to make a stand and stop hiding our firearms as though WE are the criminals. As though WE are the terrorists.

We're NOT the terrorists.

Those who find their power through FEAR and IGNORANCE and RUSH TO JUDGMENT are the terrorists. And, yes, I'm pointing directly at our Legislative, Executive, and Judicial branches of Government in the USA.

This has nothing to do with the "political climate" thinking that way is paranoid fantasy at worst or simple ignorance at best. You did something unsafe and possibly foolish. You post on this board claiming a halo and seeking reassurance. You receive some criticism and continue to rant about firearm misidentification and “political climate”. I ask again: Where was this firearm pointing during your show and tell session? Were you treating it as if it were loaded? Was it loaded? Was your or your friend’s finger ever on the trigger? What potential bullet stoppers, houses, people, pets or livestock were potentially endangered by your actions?

I state again that familiarity breeds complacency and contempt. Your response to my previous post reveals much about your attitude towards firearms. I would humbly suggest you take a step back and examine your safety practices before someone gets hurt.

General statement: I support the right of ownership, use and open carry of firearms. In accepting this right I accept the corresponding responsibility of developing safe practices such that no one is unjustifiably endangered by my ownership, use, and carry of firearms.
 

Nightmare45

NRA LIFE MEMBER
Would have reported it myself as it could have been a couple of BG's looking to rob your home, haveing a firearm on your own property is not the issue, it was night and maybe the neighbor was doing the right thing. Actually spent yesterday in my yard with two next door neighbors comparing new purchase firearms when local officer stopped and joined in the conversation, I shoot with him and next door neighbor.
 

nraynes

New member
I would have reported it. I would of described the gun better but still of done the same thing.
And why is that?

It's dark, and late. Outside of this house is 2 people ( sex doesn't matter) and one is holding a tact weapon.

Is the front light on?
How many lights on in the house?
Are they using a flashlight?
Looking around before they do anything?
Handling the gun like a gun or toy?

Unless I know you, and know it's your house you are outside of I am going to report two people with a gun.
Sorry but.
I would rather report it and have the cops hold you up for a few minutes then read that someone was shot and killed in a house I drove by at about the same time.
 
This has nothing to do with the "political climate" thinking that way is paranoid fantasy at worst or simple ignorance at best. You did something unsafe and possibly foolish.

You sound like an anti-gunner, my paranoid friend. I've been handling and using firearms my entire life, and I know that I was neither unsafe, nor foolish, nor illegal in handling a legal firearm on my own property at ANY TIME of the day or night.

No, I do not have to flex and bend in the wind of ignorance. I haven't come here looking for reassurance, I simply asked a question. You're attempting to turn this into the third degree, and you're attempting to spread fear and paranoia about gun ownership, which is the typical anti-gunner strategy.

No, in America we need NOT be fearful and suspicious of persons handling firearms in public, and I encourage more gun owners out there to do so. We're not breaking the law. Hysterical, unwarranted fear and suspicion is leading to the loss of our liberty in this country, and those who characterize LEGAL activities as "foolish and unsafe" are the cowards who are painting us into a corner with draconian gun regulations.
 
I would have reported it. I would of described the gun better but still of done the same thing. And why is that? It's dark, and late.

So, by your reasoning, we should only feel free to handle our legal firearms openly during daylight hours. I wasn't aware that gun owners have to obey a curfew. In fact I know we DON'T have a curfew. Hey, why not suggest a new law? Bring it to a vote. And then add that to the other 23,000 federal and local gun laws that are choking the life out of legal gun ownership.

Is the front light on? How many lights on in the house? Are they using a flashlight? Looking around before they do anything? Handling the gun like a gun or toy?
My house is a very large, two-storey home in the historic district of town, with a massive 2200 sqft front porch, and abundant lighting. The gun in question is a 12 gauge pump with a SureFire frontend — which means the shotgun itself IS the flashlight — and that's why we took it outside, to show him the throw of the SureFire torch. We weren't pointing it off the property.

Look, I know all the rules of safe gun ownership and handling. At no place in the rules does it say, "Only handle the firearm during daylight hours, and avoid letting the public see your firearm."

No, I don't have to live in fear of other people's ignorance. I'm not living in a cowardly Socialist nation, not yet, and I'm not going to bow and scrape to accommodate the ignorance and fear of others.
 

Chief1297

New member
I re-read your post after seeing some replies and your response to the replies. I have no problem with neighbors reporting suspicious activity at my house (and hope they would continue to do so). The police responded like they should have and checked it out. I cant tell from your post where they roughed you up, took your weapon, or did anything out of the ordinary. They made the comment to do it in your backyard but I am sure they didnt want to have to respond back out there but didn't threaten to throw you in jail if you did it again. Maybe I am not seeing the problem. They only know what the caller told them. If they didnt respond and needed to, they would have had to pay out millions in damages because someone stubbed their toe when having an emotional event which caused PTSD by their none response. Two sides brother...two sides.
 
I never said anything about being "roughed up" nor anything else. I came in here and asked a question: Is it illegal to openly examine your own firearm on your own property in North Carolina?

That's the name of the thread.

Rather than answering a simple question, I've been called "foolish" and "unsafe," when Doc Mustang knows NOTHING about my safety practices. Doc Mustang apparently assumes the worst and makes unfounded accusations, when there is nothing in my original post that warrants his tirade.

No, I do not instantly assume that anyone carrying a gun openly is up to no good, regardless of the hour of the day. Those who instantly report their neighbors based on fear and suspicion are NOT contributing to public security, but ARE contributing to a climate of more fear and suspicion.

This isn't East Berlin. Not yet. And I won't pretend that it is, just to make the cowards feel more comfortable.
 

Doc Mustang

New member
Mr. Miller,

I will reply once more and then leave you be. I am concerned by your inability to conceptualize my concerns and the concerns of several others who have replied. I would like to point out that the vast majority of dangerous, foolish and potentially deadly activities remain completely legal and unregulated. Similarly, we enjoy many rights in this country but rights do not stand alone with them must come responsibility. It is not up to me to dictate to you what you must do with your rights or the manner in which you choose to act. However, I am free to criticize your actions in whatever manner I choose using whichever words I deem appropriate.

One of the great beauties of this country is that you are free to say and do what you like, so long as you harm no one and I am free to think you are fool for your speech and actions, go forward and live my life as I see fit to make it, however much you may disagree with me; but the moment our actions begin to endanger others we must constrain our behavior lest we trod upon the rights of others.

I have stated that I support your right to own your shotgun. I support your right to carry your shotgun, openly, and in public at any time and in any place where you have a legal right to be. I would not under any circumstances propose or support a law forbidding you or any other free individual from doing the same.

One thing that cannot be regulated away or restored through political protest is suspicion through circumstance. I recall an ad some years ago during the Super Bowl which involved a kitchen knife, a cat, and a jar of spaghetti sauce. We were allowed to see the build up and the innocent circumstances behind the event then at the end we were treated to what it looked like from the outside: the girl's boyfriend just killed her cat.

The circumstances here are quite similar. From your perspective you were enjoying your right to handle firearms in public, and from your responses I am willing to concede that you likely did so in a safe manner. Checking the weapon clear, ensuring good muzzle discipline, finger off trigger, etc.

From an outside perspective it likely appeared as if two men were about to shoot into a house in the historic district. It was to this set of circumstances that the witness felt compelled to report and to which the Police correctly responded. It is precisely your refusal to acknowledge the suspicious nature of the circumstances in which you placed yourself that I feel free to use words such as dangerous, unsafe and possibly foolish to describe your actions.

I will close with this statement: It is surprising how similar two men intent on robbing a house and two men innocently handling a shotgun in their front yard appear to one another, it is the duty of the police to determine the difference, arrest the former and enlighten the latter on the devious appearance of their circumstance.
 

NavyLCDR

New member
If two guys are playing with a gun and a flahslight outside MY house at 11:00pm, I certainly hope someone DOES call the police and they DO show up to investigate. That's just common sense. (Even if one of the two guys is me)... but I can honestly say I've never felt the desire to play with my gun and flashlight outside my house at 11:00pm since I was about 7 years old.
 

G50AE

Well-known member
but I can honestly say I've never felt the desire to play with my gun and flashlight outside my house at 11:00pm since I was about 7 years old.

If you get the urge, makesure you are wearing your CCW Badge at the time. :sarcastic:
 

DukeYukon

New member
If two guys are playing with a gun and a flahslight outside MY house at 11:00pm, I certainly hope someone DOES call the police and they DO show up to investigate. That's just common sense. (Even if one of the two guys is me)... but I can honestly say I've never felt the desire to play with my gun and flashlight outside my house at 11:00pm since I was about 7 years old.

Agreed. And I don't care if it's Billy Graham and the Dalai Lama with the shotgun.
 

FN1910

New member
I never said anything about being "roughed up" nor anything else. I came in here and asked a question: Is it illegal to openly examine your own firearm on your own property in North Carolina?

You are absolutely correct about the question you asked which fits in with a thought that came to me today. I have heard many times that there is no such thing as a dumb question except those that don't get asked. However I have come to the realization that there are stupid questions. I it were illegal then instead of going gah-gah over your shotgun they would have arrested you. So there is your answer.

If two men are walking around in the front yard of a house late at night with a gun and high powered flashlight then like a few others I would jump to the conclusion that there could be something funny going on. Unlike you I cannot tell the exact model and type of any gun while riding by in the middle of the night but I usually can tell if it is a long gun or a handgun. I am the owner of several guns but if you see two men walking around my house in the middle of the night with guns drawn it is OK for you to call the police even if it is me.

In SC it is perfectly legal for a property owner to walk around his yard with his gun drawn day or night but I am not about to go testing out my latest tactical flashlight in the middle of the night with or without my gun in my hand. I appreciate my neighbors keeping watch on my house day or night and wish they did a better job. Someone walked throug my yard a few weeks back and stole a bike from the kid who lives behind me. Someone saw him walking through but didn't pay much attention.

But back to the original question if you weren't arrested then it isn't illegal. I have never known a LEO to let someone off on that type of call just because they thought they had a fancy gun. Please rephrase your question into something intelligent so we can answer it without sounding stupid. :biggrin:
 

nraynes

New member
I never meant it as a personal attack, I'm just saying that with the little knowledge of the situation I have it sounds like something some one should report.

And you never answered the part you quoted about handling it like a gun or toy. Are you shining the light at the house windows and doors? Down the street? At bushes? And again. At 11pm I would want someone to report it. Because next time it could be a BG outside your house.

Also you never answered the question about lights. If the lights are out in your house it's gunna look a little more sketchy.
 

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