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Child Access Prevention

Liability for Firearms on School Property

Pursuant to North Carolina law, a parent or legal guardian who has care, custody, and control of an unemancipated minor may be held civilly liable to an educational entity for negligent supervision of the minor if the minor commits certain enumerated crimes or any felony involving injury to persons or property through use of a firearm on educational property.1 The parent or legal guardian will only be liable if he or she:

  • Knew or should have known of the minor’s likelihood to commit the act;
  • Had the opportunity and ability to control the minor; and
  • Made no reasonable effort to correct, restrain or properly supervise the minor.2
Liability for Unsafely Stored Firearms

Pursuant to state law, any person who resides with a minor and owns or possesses a firearm stored or left: 1) in a condition in which it can be discharged; and 2) 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 criminally liable for a misdemeanor if the minor gains access to the firearm and:

  • Possesses the firearm on educational property;
  • Exhibits the firearm in a public place in a careless, angry or threatening manner;
  • Causes personal injury or death with the firearm, except in self-defense; or
  • Uses the firearm in the commission of a crime.3

Under state law, a retail seller or transferor must deliver a written copy of state law relating to storage of firearms to protect minors to the purchaser or transferee with every firearm transfer.4 A retail or wholesale store or outlet that sells firearms must conspicuously post at each purchase counter the following warning:

”It is unlawful to store or leave a firearm that can be discharged in a manner that a reasonable person should know is accessible to a minor.”5
Firearm Access for Children under 12

It is a misdemeanor in North Carolina for any person to knowingly permit a child under age 12 to have access to, or possession, custody, or use in any manner of any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, unless the person has the permission of the child’s parent or guardian, and the child is under the supervision of an adult.6

For age requirements for the purchase or possession of firearms in North Carolina, see North Carolina Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess.

Safe Storage

North Carolina has no law that requires unattended firearms to be stored in a certain way.

North Carolina also does not require a locking device to accompany the sale of a firearm, and no state statutes require firearm owners to affirmatively lock their weapons.


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  1. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-538.3. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48A-2 defines a “minor” as a person under the age of 18.[]
  2. Id.[]
  3. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-315.1.[]
  4. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-315.2; see also N.C. Gen. Stat.14-315.1.[]
  5. Id.[]
  6. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-316(a).[]