The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:


Section 1.  Chapter 14 of the General Statutes is amended by adding a new Article to read:


"Firearm Regulation.

" 14-409.39.  Definitions.

The following definitions apply in this Article:

(1)       Dealer. - Any person licensed as a dealer pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 921, et seq., or G.S. 105-80.

(2)       Firearm. - A handgun, shotgun, or rifle which expels a projectile by action of an explosion.

(3)       Handgun. - A pistol, revolver, or other gun that has a short stock and is designed to be held and fired by the use of a single hand.

" 14-409.40.  Statewide uniformity of local regulation.

(a)       It is declared by the General Assembly that the regulation of firearms is properly an issue of general, statewide concern, and that the entire field of regulation of firearms is preempted from regulation by local governments except as provided by this section.

(b)       Unless otherwise permitted by statute, no county or municipality, by ordinance, resolution, or other enactment, shall regulate in any manner the possession, ownership, storage, transfer, sale, purchase, licensing, or registration of firearms, firearms ammunition, components of firearms, dealers in firearms, or dealers in handgun components or parts.

(c)       Notwithstanding subsection (b) of this section, a county or municipality, by zoning or other ordinance, may regulate or prohibit the sale of firearms at a location only if there is a lawful, general, similar regulation or prohibition of commercial activities at that location.  Nothing in this subsection shall restrict the right of a county or municipality to adopt a general zoning plan that prohibits any commercial activity within a fixed distance of a school or other educational institution except with a special use permit issued for a commercial activity found not to pose a danger to the health, safety, or general welfare of persons attending the school or educational institution within the fixed distance.

(d)       No county or municipality, by zoning or other ordinance, shall regulate in any manner firearms shows with regulations more stringent than those applying to shows of other types of items.

(e)       A county or municipality may regulate the transport, carrying, or possession of firearms by employees of the local unit of government in the course of their employment with that local unit of government.

(f)        Nothing contained in this section prohibits municipalities or counties from application of their authority under G.S. 153A-129, 160A-189, 14-269, 14-269.2, 14-269.3, 14-269.4, 14-277.2, 14-415.11, 14-415.23, including prohibiting the possession of firearms in public-owned buildings, on the grounds or parking areas of those buildings, or in public parks or recreation areas, except nothing in this subsection shall prohibit a person from storing a firearm within a motor vehicle while the vehicle is on these grounds or areas.  Nothing contained in this section prohibits municipalities or counties from exercising powers provided by law in declared states of emergency under Article 36A of this Chapter."

Sec. 2.  This act is effective upon ratification.

In the General Assembly read three times and ratified this the 21st day of June, 1996.




Dennis A. Wicker

President of the Senate




Harold J. Brubaker

Speaker of the House of Representatives