on Apr 14, 2010 12:00 AM • Views 8632

RALEIGH, N.C. (April 14, 2010) – A change in federal law that allows firearms in many national parks does not include state parks and forests or other state recreational areas, including game lands.

According to the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of Interior, people who can legally possess firearms under federal and state law can now possess those firearms in the national parks in that state. This pertains to anyone with a concealed carry permit.

National parks should not be confused with national forests. In North Carolina, the Nantahala, Pisgah, Uwharrie and Croatan national forests are also designated as game lands.

“Concealed carry permits do not supersede the other regulations that apply,” said Maj. Keith Templeton, with the Law Enforcement Division of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “It is up to the individual with a valid concealed carry permit to know the law and obey it.”

Under game land regulations, it is unlawful to possess a firearm or bow and arrow on a game land at any time, except:

  • During the open hunting seasons for game birds and game animals
  • When the firearm is cased or not immediately available for use
  • When possessed and used by participants in field trials on field trial areas
  • When possessed and used on target shooting areas designated by the landowner
  • When possessed in designated camping areas for defense of persons and property

Game land regulations allow .22 caliber pistols, with barrels not greater than seven and a half inches in length and shooting only short, long or long rifle ammunition, to be carried as a sidearm on game lands at any time, other than by hunters during the special bow and arrow and muzzleloading deer hunting seasons.

Some additional game land and hunting regulations of note:

  • All hunting seasons are closed on Sunday; some game lands are open to hunting only three days per week.
  • Only a shotgun and bow and arrow may be possessed during the big game season for wild turkey. This means no rifles or handguns are allowed on game lands during the wild turkey season.

Other notable state laws:

  • Loaded firearms are prohibited at all N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission public access areas (boat ramps) and public fishing areas.
  • It is also unlawful to possess a loaded firearm within a posted restricted zone of any state-owned fish hatchery.
  • In counties where shining a light at deer is not prohibited, it is always unlawful to be in possession of any firearm, including a concealed firearm with permit, while shining a light in search of deer.

For more information on game land regulations, refer to the N.C. Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digest or call (919) 707-0030.

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About N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission
Since 1947, the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission has been dedicated to the conservation and sustainability of the state's fish and wildlife resources through research, scientific management, wise use, and public input. The Commission is the state regulatory agency responsible for the enforcement of fishing, hunting, trapping and boating laws and provides programs and opportunities for wildlife-related educational, recreational and sporting activities. To learn more, visit www.ncwildlife.org.

Get N.C. Wildlife Update – news including season dates, bag limits, legislative updates and more – delivered to your Inbox from the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. Go to www.ncwildlife.org/enews.

FAQ ON CONCEALED CARRY PERMITS ON
GAME LANDS

QUESTION: I hold a North Carolina concealed carry permit. May I carry my concealed carry firearm while hunting on game lands?
ANSWER: Firearms, including handguns, are allowed on game lands during the open hunting seasons or hunting days for game birds or game animals other than fox.

All hunting seasons are closed on Sunday and some game lands are open to hunting only three days per week. Only shotguns or bow and arrow may be possessed during the big game season for wild turkey –meaning no rifles or handguns are allowed on game lands during the wild turkey season.

QUESTION: I hold a North Carolina concealed carry permit. May I carry my concealed carry firearm on game lands when it isn’t a hunting season?
ANSWER: Game land regulations allow .22 caliber pistols, with barrels not greater than seven and a half inches in length and shooting only short, long or long rifle ammunition, to be carried as a sidearm on game lands at any time, other than by hunters during the special bow and arrow and muzzleloading deer hunting seasons.

QUESTION: I saw a news report that firearms are now allowed in “national parks.” What does this mean?
ANSWER: People who legally possess firearms under federal and state law can now possess those firearms in the national parks in that state. National parks should not be confused with national forests. National parks are under the U.S. Department of Interior, while national forests are under the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

National forests in North Carolina, such as Nantahala, Pisgah, Uwharrie and Croatan, are designated as game lands and all state game-land regulations apply.

QUESTION: Where can I get more information or ask additional questions?
ANSWER: For more information on game land regulations, refer to the N.C. Inland Fishing, Hunting and Trapping Regulations Digestor call (919) 707-0030. For information on concealed carry privileges in North Carolina, contact you local sheriff’s department or refer to the N.C. Department of Criminal Justice Website at http://www.ncdoj.com/getdoc/32344299-a2a7-4ae5-99fd-9018262f64ac/2007-NC-Firearms-gun-Laws.aspx.