New shotgun sold in Charlotte area may not be legal

by: Mark Becker Updated:

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - There’s a new shotgun being sold in stores across the Charlotte but it’s unclear if the weapon is legal.

The Compact Mossberg is a shotgun that’s not much longer than some handguns.

“Who’s buying these?” reporter Mark Becker asked Larry Hyatt, the owner of Hyatt Gun Shop.

“These are very popular for self-protection because in a home, a longer shotgun is difficult to maneuver,” Hyatt answered.

But as soon as Hyatt received the new shotgun, he and other gun dealers took it off the shelves after discovering the weapons might not be legal.

“We started to sell them, but then we quickly found out maybe we shouldn’t,” Hyatt said.

The problem is that while the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms said the Compact Mossberg is legal, North Carolina law bans anything classified as a weapon of mass death and destruction and that specifically includes any shotgun with a barrel shorter than 18 inches.

The barrel on the new shotgun is only 14 inches long.

[READ MORE: North Carolina firearms laws]

“My opinion of the statute is that it’s illegal to possess that weapon in North Carolina, so we’re not selling them at the range,” said Bud Cesena, a retired police officer who now manages a gun store and shooting range in Lincoln County.

Cesena is also on North Carolina’s Private Protective Services Board, an agency that regulates private security companies, and he’s written the state attorney general, asking for a ruling on the new guns.

“I’ve had a number of private investigators give me a call and say, ‘I’d like to use this shotgun in executive protection,’ and I don’t have an answer for them,” Cesena said.

Cesena said the Lincoln County sheriff and several others have written similar letters. The Attorney General’s Office said it’s still reviewing the issue and have not made a ruling.

“So we’re on hold until we get a ruling from the attorney general,” Hyatt said.

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