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North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter(s) 14-269.2(b): Willfully Discharging a Firearm on Educational Property (Felony)

1. Definition and Elements of the Crime

Willfully Discharging a Firearm on Educational Property Under North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 14-269.2 and its subsections, the crime of willfully discharging a firearm on educational property is a serious felony that involves the intentional discharge of a firearm on property owned or operated by the Board of Education, School Board of Trustees, or the Directors of any school.

To prove a charge of willfully discharging a firearm on educational property, the State must be able to prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. That the Defendant discharged a firearm
  2. That the defendant was on educational property
  3. That the Defendant acted willfully, without permission, lawful authority, and/or legal justification or excuse

“Willfully” is defined as the wrongful doing of an act without legal excuse or justification, or the commission of an act purposefully and deliberately in violation of law. As a specific intent offense, mens rea or an “evil mind” is an essential element of the offense.

“Educational Property” includes a public or private school, a community college, colleges or universities, or recreational and athletic fields of any school in North Carolina.

“Firearm” may include a rifle, gun, pistol, or other “firearm of any kind.” Subsection (b) of N.C.G.S. 14-269.2 specifically excludes stun guns, a BB gun, an air pistol, and air rifles.

2. Examples

Defendant is friends with the President of a local liberal arts known as Charlotte School and Game Preserve. CSGP is located on approximately 200 acres of land near Huntersville, North Carolina. 5 acres of the property are used for buildings, dorms, campus activities, and college administration facilities. 195 acres of university property consist of adjoining undeveloped woodlands, ponds, fields, and open space donated by a graduate of the college. Within the technical boundaries of the school property is a field that is stocked with an abundance of quail, dove, pheasant, and other hunting game. One class offered at CSGP is called, “Tracking and Hunting Game.” Over dinner one night, Defendant asks the President of the college if he can hunt on the land the next day. The President gives the defendant permission, even emailing him saying, “Great seeing you. As discussed, you have permission to hunt the school field property.” Defendant takes his dog and begins to hunt the next morning. He shoots several quail. While walking out, he is arrested by an officer with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Defendant should not be convicted with willfully discharging a firearm on educational property. While the Defendant willfully discharged a firearm, he had written permission to do so and therefore proceeded with legal justification and excuse.

The coronavirus has shut down the UNCC Campus. Defendant is a freshman at UNCC and lives right by campus and decides to go for a walk. Defendant has a concealed carry permit and always has his handgun with him. Defendant has been tired of the inactivity and constant days of boredom. Defendant pulls out his gun and shoots it into the air while walking through a deserted part of campus. A security guard spots Defendant fire the gun into the air and alerts local authorities. Defendant can be charged with willfully discharging a firearm on an educational property. The concealed carry permit does not authorize the discharge of the weapon. The defendant may further be charged with Carrying a Concealed Weapon, as the concealed carry permit does not apply to educational facilities like UNCC. Defendant may also be charged with possession of a weapon on campus or other educational property.

3. Related Offenses

For other related offenses, please click the following links below:

  1. Powers Named Charlotte Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers
  2. North Carolina Criminal Law 14-32(b): Assault with a Deadly Weapon Inflicting Serious Injury
  3. North Carolina Criminal Law 14-34: Assault by Pointing a Gun
  4. What is a Criminal Summons?
  5. North Carolina Criminal Law Chapter 14-269.2(b): Carrying or Possessing Weapons Educational Property or at School Sponsored Activity
4. Defenses to Willfully Discharging a Firearm on Educational Property

Willfully Discharging a Firearm on Educational Property The Defendant has a viable defense under North Carolina law if he or she can prove that his or her discharge of a firearm was sanctioned by the school during a ceremony or was discharged for solely educational purposes. Defendant may have a viable defense if they can show that the individual had permission from the school to hunt on adjoining school property.

5. Penalties for Willfully Discharging a Firearm on Educational Property

The punishment for conviction of willfully discharging a firearm on school property is a Class F felony punishable by a maximum period of incarceration of 62 months in a state correctional facility.

6. Criminal Defense for Willfully Discharging a Firearm on Educational Property

If you have been charged with discharging a firearm on educational property, we strongly recommend you immediately seek legal counsel.

Discharging a firearm on school property (educational property) offense could possibly expose you to Federal criminal charges as well under United States Code weapons charges.

Alleged weapons violations deserve the attention of an experienced criminal lawyer in Charlotte. Your liberties are potentially at stake.

If you have legal questions, call our team of defense attorneys at Powers Law Firm PA today: 704-342-4357

Legal consultations are free at charge for criminal matters at our law office.

You may also email Attorney Bill Powers at: Bill@CarolinaAttorneys.com

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