My sweet wife thinks camping out involves a motel room. And now I got an even better excuse. The best places to camp in North Carolina are in the many national forests, almost all of which are also designated as state gamelands, meaning residents can hunt there.
But according to state wildlife officials, that also means that national forests are not the same as national parks, therefore those citizens like me with concealed-carry permits are not legally allowed to carry despite the new national law that authorizes concealed-carry in national parks. So sez Fear & Loading, as reported in the Whiteville newspaper.
A change in federal law that allows firearms in many national parks does not include state parks and forests or other state recreational areas, including North Carolina’s game lands. According to the National Park Service of the U.S. Department of Interior, people who can legally possess firearms under federal and state law can now possess those firearms in the national parks in that state. This pertains to anyone with a concealed carry permit.So bad news is I can't carry my defense pistols concealed. But good news is I can carry my S&W 22A target pistol openly. Or my Sig P229 or P220 as long as I have the .22LR slides installed.
National parks should not be confused with national forests. In North Carolina, the Nantahala, Pisgah, Uwharrie and Croatan national forests are also designated as game lands.
“Concealed carry permits do not supersede the other regulations that apply,” said Maj. Keith Templeton, with the law enforcement division of the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission. “It is up to the individual with a valid concealed carry permit to know the law and obey it.”
Under game land regulations, it is unlawful to possess a firearm or bow and arrow on a game land at any time, except:
• During the open hunting seasons for game birds and game animals
• When the firearm is cased or not immediately available for use
• When possessed and used by participants in field trials on field trial areas
• When possessed and used on target shooting areas designated by the landowner
• When possessed in designated camping areas for defense of persons and property
Game land regulations allow .22 caliber pistols, with barrels not greater than seven and a half inches in length and shooting only short, long or long rifle ammunition, to be carried as a sidearm on game lands at any time, other than by hunters during the special bow and arrow and muzzleloading deer hunting seasons.
Oh well, I guess that's better than going "naked." As I heard one instructor advise a lady shooter who carries a .32 pistol, "Better shoot 'em in the eyeball."