Prior to 2012, during a declared state of emergency, several General Statutes allowed restrictions and prohibitions to be imposed on the “possession, transportation, sale, purchase, storage and use of dangerous weapons and substances, and gasoline.” “Dangerous weapons” included firearms such as handguns, rifles, and shotguns.” Those General Statutes, as they applied to firearms, were held unconstitutional in the federal court case of Bateman v. Perdue, 881 F.Supp.2d 709 (2012).
As a result, the North Carolina General Assembly repealed those General Statutes and enacted the current statute [G.S. 166A-19.31] to address this issue, which became effective October 1, 2012.
G.S. 166A-19.31(b)(4) provides that ordinances enacted by counties or cities during a state of emergency may include prohibitions and restrictions: “Upon the possession, transportation, sale, purchase, storage, and use of gasoline, and dangerous weapons and substances, except that this subdivision does not authorize prohibitions or restrictions on lawfully possessed firearms or ammunition” (emphasis added.) As used in this subdivision, the term "dangerous weapons and substances" has the same meaning as it does under G.S. 14-288.1. As used in this subdivision, the term "firearm" has the same meaning as it does under G.S. 14-409.39(2).
In explaining this law in a Blog post on June 1, 2012, and in her current teaching materials, Norma Houston, Lecturer in Public Law and Government, at the UNC-CH School of Government, explains in pertinent part: