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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm having a frustrating time figuring out what's legal and what isn't.

I'm going to Tennessee on Saturday. However I am stopping in North Carolina to see Clingmans Dome.

Here is the dilemma. It is a seven hour drive to the cabin from my home down in south GA. I want to openly carry on the drive as it is more comfortable for long distance drives.

Now things get confusing. Open carry is legal in North Carolina, however open carry is illegal on State park land according to 14-415.11. c1

"Any person who has a concealed handgun permit may carry a concealed handgun on
the grounds or waters of a park within the State Parks System"

It states that one may concealed carry a firearm inside state parks with the proper license. Multiple state park websites for North Carolina state the same.

Handgunlaw.us also states concealed only.

So, where does Clingmans Dome fall into? Do National Parks in NC follow the same state law so open carry is prohibited?

I know Cade's Cove in TN I'll be fine to openly carry. Since it's TN and their law isn't as convoluted.

Does anyone have experience or knowledge in regards to Clingmans Dome? I'm bouncing back and forth on webpages trying to find clarification
 

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I'm fairly certain that with a license, open carry is legal in NC in state and national parks.

However, you cannot carry AT ALL inside any state park office in NC nor any posted buildings in any national park.

I will double check the Facebook site for Grass Roots North Carolina for the first statement above.
 

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https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/management/upload/Firearms-in-IMRparks2-2010.pdf

My read of the below is that Open Carry is ALWAYS legal on Federal Park land, but CC is in keeping with state law. Remember that BUILDINGS are still off limits.

Congress approved a new law allowing loaded firearms in national parks starting Feb. 22, 2010. That means people can openly carry legal handguns, rifles, shotguns and other firearms and also may carry concealed guns as allowed by state statute.

While this law changes gun regulations in national parks, there are still many important restrictions on the transportation and use of guns under state and federal laws:

Read the rest at the link above.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Half in and out of both TN and NC. But according to a map the Dome is just inside of NC.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Decided to conceal inside North Carolina just to make things easier.

I will be openly carrying in Tennessee today though. Including Cades Cove
 

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If go to the observation tower on Clingman's Dome, I would like to hear about it. I read that there is a ranger station or something nearby, which I assume would be a posted, Federal gun-free zone, but I would assume the tower itself would be OK to carry (but you know how assumptions can turn out). We're going there in the summer, and I would hate to walk halfway there, carrying a toddler, and find out that my choices are to either turn around or violate federal law.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
The visitor station on Clingmans Dome was clearly posted. I did not go inside but my family did.

I carried concealed along the entire walkway and up the dome. Legally speaking I was in the clear to carry since I have a license. I just decided not to openly carry to avoid any hassle.

However I did openly carry in Cades Cove all day (that's in Tennessee). I was around numerous park rangers and never got so much as a second glance.
 

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I'm having a frustrating time figuring out what's legal and what isn't.
You weren't kidding on the frustrating part. One would think it would be easy to google a simple yes or no on open carry in National Parks located in North Carolina, but I still don't have a definite answer.

Almost every source references the law that requires concealed carry in NC state parks, but says nothing about National Parks, and the Great Smokey Mountains National Park web page just references North Carolina law while repeatedly using the phrase concealed carry, but does not explicitly state that CC is required or OC is prohibited.

I think that the NC law requiring concealed carry in parks does not apply to National Parks, and since OC is not completely prohibited in NC, then therefore OC should be legal a National Park in NC. However, like Feral, I'm not confident enough to test that for sure without more information.

I might be carrying a baby in a back pack, and it can cause my shirt to ride up, and I would prefer to car OWB with just a shirt covering it due to the heat, but if I have to, I will switch to pocket carry.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yeah. I opted to CC while in the Great Smokey's that resided within North Carolina. I wasn't happy about it but I wasn't confident in my understanding of the law to risk it.

Once in Tennessee I switched to strictly OC.

Since the trip I've read some passages that suggested that national parks follow the laws of the state they reside in, generally by what the state park laws are. So that seemed to confirm my suspicion.
 
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