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Is it legal to own an AK-47 in NC? Here’s what state law says about the firearm

A former Super Bowl champion who was recently arrested in Charlotte now faces a slew of charges, including possession of a stolen firearm.

According to a police report, officers found Bashaud Breeland, 31, with a stolen Mercedes-Benz SUV, 62 grams of suspected illegal mushrooms, more than five pounds of marijuana, and eight guns.

Among the weapons found on Aug. 8 were two AR-15s and two AK-47s. Breeland is a former Kansas City Chiefs cornerback who played with the team during its Super Bowl win in 2020.

According to North Carolina law, Breeland could face prison time if he is convicted on the gun charges.

Is it legal to own an AK-47 in NC?

North Carolina law prohibits the possession, sale, manufacture, and use of machine guns, such as an AK-47, but semi-automatic versions of the weapon are legal.

The law defines “machine gun” as “any weapon which shoots, is designed to shoot, or can be readily restored to shoot, automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.”

Certain people are allowed to own machine guns, according to the law, including:

  • Banks, merchants, and recognized businesses that apply to the county sheriff’s office for a permit to possess a machine gun to defend their business.

  • U.S. Army members who are in discharge of their official duties.

  • County, city, or town officials who are acting in discharge of their official duties.

  • People using or possessing weapons for scientific purposes.

  • Residents who own machine guns used in former wars.

Possessing an automatic AK-47 is a Class I felony, punishable by three to 12 months in prison, according to FindLaw, a website that provides legal information

Is it legal to own an AR-15 in NC?

AR-15s, or “modern sporting rifles,” according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation, are legal to own in North Carolina.

You don’t need a permit or other legal document to legally have a rifle, shotgun or handgun in North Carolina “as long as the firearm is not capable of fully automatic fire” and you’re not a convicted felon, the North Carolina Rifle & Pistol Association says.

“Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm,” according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

There is no minimum age to possess rifles in North Carolina, but federal law prohibits licensed gun dealers from selling firearms to people under 18.

What other weapons are illegal in NC?

In addition to machine guns, short-barreled and sawed-off shotguns and suppressors are illegal in North Carolina, according to Raleigh-based law firm Kirk, Kirk, Howell, Cutler & Thomas

Other weapons, such as bowie knives, daggers, slingshots, loaded canes, and metallic knuckles are legal to have at home but cannot be carried in public, state law says.

The rule doesn’t apply to “ordinary pocket knives,” which state law defines as “a small knife, designed for carrying in a pocket or purse, that has its cutting edge and point entirely enclosed by its handle, and that may not be opened by a throwing, explosive, or spring action.”

There are also some exemptions for law enforcement officers and members of the military.