Recently, we have had several questions about information circulating on social media regarding the ability of persons with a valid concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun while wearing a mask. The NC Sheriffs’ Association has therefore issued a clarification on these questions. There is no law in North Carolina that specifically prohibits a person with a valid concealed handgun permit from lawfully carrying their handgun concealed while wearing a mask.
However, wearing a mask by anyone in some circumstances is a misdemeanor and in other circumstances it is a felony. A person who is convicted of a felony will have their concealed handgun permit revoked and will not qualify for the issuance of a new permit. A misdemeanor conviction will have no impact on a person’s concealed handgun permit. This is addressed in section 12 of chapter 14 of the NC General Statutes.
Senate Bill 704 Temporarily Authorizes Masks in Public for Health & Safety Due to COVID-19. With the enactment in May, 2020 of Section 4 of Senate Bill 704, a person is now temporarily authorized to wear a mask in public and on private premises (such as in a shopping mall) for the “purpose of ensuring the physical health or safety of the wearer or others.” The person wearing a mask for health or safety reasons must remove the mask upon the request of a law enforcement officer during a traffic stop (including at a checkpoint or roadblock) or criminal investigation.
This temporary authorization only applies to the misdemeanors described above but DOES NOT apply to the felonies described above. This temporary authorization expires on August 1, 2020. If the General Assembly does not extend this temporary provision of law, it will again be a Class 1 misdemeanor for any person to wear a mask in public (including those with a concealed handgun permit whether or not they are carrying a concealed handgun) unless one of the other exceptions described above applies.
Per G.S. 14-415.12 and G.S. 14-415.18, a person with a North Carolina issued concealed handgun permit that is convicted of a felony, including the Class H felony offenses described above, will have their concealed handgun permit revoked and will not qualify for the issuance of a new concealed handgun permit.
If a person with a concealed handgun permit commits the Class 1 misdemeanor offense of wearing a mask in public after August 1, 2020, that person would still qualify to possess the concealed handgun permit unless the judgment or condition of probation issued by the court prohibits the person from possessing a firearm.