June 29, 2020
We have received several inquiries regarding the upcoming mask / face-covering mandate issued by Gov. Cooper in regards to Concealed Carry Handgun Permits.
The question is: Is it legal for me to utilize my issued concealed carry permit while also wearing a mask / face-covering?
This question has been brought up due to some confusion pertaining to the N.C. law that prohibits wearing a mask / face-covering in public. The concern for permittees is that they will violate this law while carrying concealed which, in addition to facing a criminal charge, would most likely cause their permit to be revoked. However, there are several detailed exemptions to this law which include that a person may wear a mask / face-covering for the purpose of ensuring the physical safety of the wearer (e.g. Covid-19 prevention, chronic illness, etc.). This has also been the case for some time regarding concealed carry handgun permittees with chronic illnesses that requires public face-covering as a life-sustaining measure.
The short answer: Yes, you can continue to legally utilize your issued concealed carry handgun permit while wearing your mandated mask / face-covering.
The complete state statutes regarding this issue are below.
§ 14-12.8. Wearing of masks, hoods, etc., on public property.
No person or persons shall in this State, while wearing any mask, hood or device whereby the person, face or voice is disguised so as to conceal the identity of the wearer, enter, or appear upon or within the public property of any municipality or county of the State, or of the State of North Carolina. (1953, c. 1193, s. 7.)
§ 14-12.11. Exemptions from provisions of Article. (a) The following are exempted from the provisions of G.S. 14-12.7, 14-12.8, 14-12.9, 14-12.10 and 14-12.14: (1) Any person or persons wearing traditional holiday costumes in season; (2) Any person or persons engaged in trades and employment where a mask is worn for the purpose of ensuring the physical safety of the wearer, or because of the nature of the occupation, trade or profession; (3) Any person or persons using masks in theatrical productions including use in Mardi Gras celebrations and masquerade balls; (4) Persons wearing gas masks prescribed in civil defense drills and exercises or emergencies; and (5) Any person or persons, as members or members elect of a society, order or organization, engaged in any parade, ritual, initiation, ceremony, celebration or requirement of such society, order or organization, and wearing or using any manner of costume, paraphernalia, disguise, facial makeup, hood, implement or device, whether the identity of such person or persons is concealed or not, on any public or private street, road, way or property, or in any public or private building, provided permission shall have been first obtained therefor by a representative of such society, order or organization from the governing body of the municipality in which the same takes place, or, if not in a municipality, from the board of county commissioners of the county in which the same takes place.