CLAIM: In North Carolina, you can be charged with a class H felony if you have a concealed carry permit and carry while wearing a mask, according to state statute 14-12.
THE FACTS: North Carolina state statutes do not prohibit people with permits to carry concealed guns from doing so while wearing a mask.
As counties in North Carolina began requiring masks to prevent spread of the coronavirus, posts online have circulated suggesting that gun owners permitted to carry a concealed gun would face a felony charge if they carry while wearing a mask. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper announced Wednesday that face coverings would be required while out in public saying that “people must wear face coverings when in public places, indoors or outdoors.”
Posts circulating on social media warn that those who decide to concealed carry and wear a mask can be charged with a felony. “Once you have a felony you can no longer carry,” stated one post with more than 5,000 shares on Facebook. The posts online referenced “NC Gen. Statute 14-12” as the reason state residents with “concealed carry” permits could not carry their gun and wear a mask at the same time. But in May, as part of its Covid-19 Recovery Act, the North Carolina state legislature made a temporary exception to the state’s mask law due to public health concerns. The bill also stipulates that a person wearing a mask shall remove the mask upon request of a law enforcement officer. The law dates to the 1950s, when masks were banned in public.
Several states passed such laws at the time in response to the Ku Klux Klan. “We are not aware of any statutes that would prohibit people from continuing to concealed carry, which is their legal right in North Carolina, and also wear a mask to protect themselves,” Patrick Ryan, spokesman for North Carolina Senate leader Phil Berger, said.