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Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Concealed Weapon Charge- A Day in Mecklenburg District Court

I had a very interesting afternoon in court the other day. My client was facing a concealed weapon charge. The issue at trial was whether the gun was actually concealed. Excluding some specific exceptions, a person can be found guilty of carrying a concealed weapon under NC GS 14-269(a) if they carry a pistol or gun concealed on or about their person while off their own premises. A key element at this trial revolved around whether the gun was actually concealed in the vehicle he was riding in. My client had a good result- the judge dismissed the concealed weapon charge at the conclusion of the District Attorney's case. The judge also dismissed the underage consumption of alcohol and marijuana possession charge for lack of sufficient evidence.

I always do my research before trial. If an attorney wants to have a judge rule in favor of their client, the attorney needs to give the judge something to hang their legal ruling on. I found appellate decisions that supported my client's argument that the gun was not concealed but in plain view of someone walking up to the vehicle. Sound strange? A gun in plain view? Well, the policy behind the concealed weapon law is to protect those who don't know a person is carrying a gun. I thought the appellate case NC v. Gainey stated it well:
"The purpose of the statute is to reduce the likelihood  a concealed weapon may be resorted to in a fit of anger. In case of an altercation, one who has a pistol concealed will be less likely to act with restraint than if he were unarmed. If both parties are unarmed, bloody noses, black eyes, and torn shirts are the principal dangers which grow out of a fight. If, however, one or each party has a concealed weapon, the result of an altercation may be a funeral and a homicide trial, or two funerals."
Putting this all aside, guns are dangerous. Guns in vehicles- even more dangerous. At the end of the day, however, the state must meet their burden of proving my client's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. That is the job of every well prepared criminal defense attorney- holding the state to their burden.


posted by Carilyn Ibsen at


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very enlightening information. I am a "gun nut" and this is good to know.


March 22, 2010 at 7:33 PM  

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