n 2004, the North Carolina legislature passed a blanket prohibition on the possession o all rearms by anyonewho has committed a elony.
On August 28, 2009, the North Carolina Supreme Court held in
Britt v. North Caro-lina
that this broad prohibition was unconstitutional as it applied to the specic plainti in the case.This
report provides analysis o the gun possession laws in North Carolina as well as the
case. It ar-gues that the legislature needs to take action in the 2010 legislative short session primarily to ensure that individualrights are not violated due to this overbroad law. While there may be greater changes that need to be made to the gunpossession laws, this
ocuses only on the changes that should be made in connection with
Gun Poion Lw Rgrding ex-lon
In less than 10 years, North Carolina went rom ew restrictions on gun possession by ex-elons to excessive re-strictions. The ollowing table provides a timeline and highlights the changes.
timlin nd Dil o irrm Poion Rriion in Norh crolin
Before 1995Law After 1995 Amendments
Law After 2004 Amendments
No, with some exceptions.Law generally drew distinctionsbetween violent and non-violentex-elons. Yes — no distinctions weremade between violent andnon-violent ex-elons. Yes
Rriion on Violn ex-lon
Rriion Limido crin tp o irrm
Yes, restrictions only applied to“any handgun or other rearmwith a barrel length o less than18 inches or an overall length o less than 26 inches.” Yes, restrictions only applied to“any handgun or other rearmwith a barrel length o less than18 inches or an overall length o less than 26 inches.”No, the law covers all rearms.
tim Limiion onRriion
Yes, the restrictions lasted veyears ater a conviction or an“unconditional discharge roma correctional institution, ortermination o a suspendedsentence, probation, or paroleupon such conviction, whicheveris later.”NoNo
Yes, all ex-elons could possessa rearm in their homes orbusinesses. Yes, all ex-elons could possessa rearm in their homes orbusinesses.No
In 2005, the plainti, Barney Britt, challenged the 2004 law that created a complete and permanent ban on re-arm ownership by ex-elons.
He took the case to the North Carolina Supreme Court arguing that the law was uncon-stitutional under the North Carolina Constitution.
Article I, Section 30 o the North Carolina Constitution states “A well regulated militia being necessary to the security o a ree State, the right o the people to keep and bear arms shallnot be inringed.”
The Court already has interpreted this right to include an individual right to bear arms.
In 1979, Mr. Britt was convicted o a non-violent elony (drug possession with the intent to sell and deliver drugs).