North Carolina Gun Laws

north carolina state seal

North Carolina gun laws are considered permissive with a “Shall Issue” policy. There are no restrictions on calibers or magazine size and limited restrictions on open carry. Concealed carry permits are only issued to residents who must be 21 or older and have completed a firearms training course. Exceptions are made for military personnel who are posted in the state. A permit to purchase a firearm is required if you do not have a concealed carry permit. Applications are processed at the county level by the local sheriff’s office.

North Carolina CCW Quick Facts

Carry In Vehicle YES
Must Notify Officer YES
Carry In State Parks Allowed YES
No Weapons Signs Enforced YES
Open Carry Permitted YES
Carry In Liquor Establishments YES
Constitutional Carry NO
total active ccw
permits in North Carolina

Gun Laws

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states that honor
a N.C. permit
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N.C. honors
states not
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North Carolina CCW Dashboard

total active ccw
permits in North carolina

Gun Laws

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age required

Cost of
a ccw permit

years permit
is valid
with permit

North Carolina CCW Reciprocity


  • Permit Honored
  • Permit not honored
  • Residential permits only
  • Issuing state

How Reciprocity Works in North Carolina

North Carolina will honor concealed carry permits that have been issued in any other state. There are 38 states that will honor a North Carolina permit, 6 of these states will only honor the residential permit.

North Carolina Reciprocity Agreements

North Carolina has signed reciprocity agreements with 36 other states. An official list of these states can be seen at the Attorney Generals website.

North Carolina Reciprocity State's

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.

Districts & Territories
District of Columbia, New York City, Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands

California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island

14.145.24 - Reciprocity Laws

North Carolina Concealed Carry Permit


  • Must be at least 21 years old.
  • You have completed an approved firearms training class, (minimum 8 hours).
  • Be a resident of North Carolina for 30 days preceding the filing of the application.
  • Be a resident of the County application is filed in.
  • Be a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident alien.
  • Does not suffer from a physical or mental infirmity that prevents the safe handling of a handgun.
  • Has not been convicted of an impaired driving offense within three years prior to the date on which the application is submitted.
  • Has not had judgment continued for or free on bond or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for a disqualifying criminal offense.
  • Is not currently or has not been adjudicated or administratively determined to be lacking mental capacity or mentally ill.
  • Federal Law Requirements

North Carolina Gun Policy

Shall Issue

Permit Issued To

age required
cost of
CCW permit
Years Permit
is valid

North Carolina CCW Permit Forms

Download Your Forms

North Carolina: Places Off-Limits for CCW

north carolina state flag
North Carolina state flag

Places Off-Limits in North Carolina

  • Law enforcement office or facility
  • Detention or correctional facility
  • A building or part of building housing in which there are state offices.
  • Any public or private school building or bus, campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic fields or other property used or owned by an educational institution.
  • Schools, public or private, all levels including universities. Gun can remain locked in vehicle, if you have a permit.
  • A curricular or extracurricular activity sponsored by a school
  • Any places of assemblies such as a picket line, demonstration, parade or funeral procession. Carry at a parade or funeral is now allowed if you have a permit.
  • On any private premises where notice that carrying a concealed handgun is prohibited
  • State Capitol Building, the Executive Mansion, the Western Residence of the Governor, or on the grounds of any of these buildings
  • Any place alcohol beverages are consumed or sold, - applies to restaurants if posted.
  • Any person consuming alcohol or under the influence of controlled substances or alcohol.
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law.

Places Allowed in North Carolina

  • State parks
  • State and national forests
  • Road side rest areas
  • Vehicle
  • Parade (with permit)
  • Funeral (with permit)
  • School campus (with permit) - must remain locked in vehicle, cannot be carried on school grounds.
  • All areas of the state - except those listed as Off-Limits.

Pointers: North Carolina CCW

North Carolina Gun Sales...

Private Sales
A background check is required for private handgun sales but not for long guns. To purchase a handgun a person must present either a pistol purchase permit or concealed carry permit and be at least 18 years old. The pistol permit can only be obtained from the local sheriffs office in the county the applcant resides in. Before issuing the permit the sheriffs office will conduct a background check on the person requesting the permit. 

The conditions can vary between the 100 or so counties in North Carolina with some requiring waiting periods, proof of moral character, a reason the permit is required (self defense, hunting, collecting or target shooting) or a limit on the number of permits applied for. A fee of around $5 is usually charged for the permit.

Purchase permits were originally introduced as a way to prevent minorities from obtaining handguns and are a relic of the past which has never been removed from the law books.

Dealer Sales
Handgun sales through dealers are the same as above with a pistol permit or concealed carry permit being required. The main difference is you would need to be at least 21 years old to buy a handgun. You can still purchase a rifle or shotgun if at least 18 years old from a licensed dealer.

History of North Carolina Gun Laws

1760 pocket pistol
Pocket Pistol from 1760's by Joseph Barbar, London

Learn North Carolina's Gun History

1919 - Purchase Permit

The law requiring a Pistol Purchase Permit to buy a firearm was passed in 1919. This law was designed to circumvent civil rights laws, guaranteed by the US Constitution to minorities and African Americans. The racist members of the legislature knew they could not prevent minorities from purchasing firearms under federal law. Remember that the Klu Klux Klans headquarters was in Raleigh, a short distance from the legislators. So with the help of some influential individuals the Pistol Purchase Permit law was enacted. This law allowed local authorities to discriminate as to who they would issue a permit to. The effect of this law lingers on today with over 100 county sheriffs all having a widely varying range of requirements to obtain a purchase permit.

1995 - Shall Issue Policy

In 1995 North Carolina changed from a May Issue state to Shall Issue.

2004 - Concealed Carry Permit To Purchase

The Pistol Purchase Permit law was slightly modified in 2004 to allow anyone with a valid concealed carry permit to use that to purchase firearms.

2011 - Reciprocity Law

A new law passed in December, 2011 saw North Carolina honor all permits from other states.

2012 - Emergency Powers Limited

In March, 2012 a US Federal Court declared North Carolina's ban on concealed carry when emergency powers are in force as unconstitutional. Hence, you can now carry a firearm if emergency laws have been activated.

2013 - Off-Limit places Relaxed

October, 2013 saw places that were off-limits become legal for persons with a valid concealed carry permit. You can now carry into a place that serves alcohol or attend a parade or funeral with a firearm if you have a permit to carry. You can also enter school grounds with a weapon provided it remains locked in a vehicle.

2015 - Preemption Laws

In 2015, the ability of local authorities to regulate gun laws was restricted with a new preemption law which gave the state full control over gun laws. Local authorities were left with a few limited situations where they could still issue ordinances directed at firearms.

2017 - Permit-less Carry Bill

A bill to introduce permit-less carry was passed in the lower house in June, 2017. It is now up to the Senate as to whether this will become law.

North Carolina Concealed Carry Laws

north carolina state capitol building
North Carolina state capitol building

North Carolina Gun Laws To Know

YES – Without a permit

A person without a CCW permit can carry a loaded handgun in a vehicle if it is not concealed and visible, and they have no felony convictions. The current definition of concealed is if the handgun cannot be readily seen by a person approaching and the gun is readily accessible. A handgun under the front seat or in an unlocked glove box or console is illegal. A handgun openly displayed or in a locked glove box, locked console, or in the trunk is lawful.

If you have a permit from North Carolina you may carry a loaded concealed handgun within a vehicle.

YES – Without a permit

Open carry is legal in North Carolina. You may not carry in places listed as Off-Limit areas and local governments can place limited restrictions on open carry in some locations.

The Law
160A-189 – Firearms
153A-129 – Firearms

YES – Must Inform Officer

North Carolina gun laws state that you must inform a law enforcement officer you have a firearm when approached on official business. You are required to carry your permit at all times during which the permittee is in actual possession of a concealed handgun.

The Law


North Carolina does not have constitutional carry yet. In 2017 a bill to introduce permit-less carry passed the lower stages of the house so we are still waiting to see if it actually becomes law.

It is legal to carry in the following areas;

  • State Parks: YES14-415.11(c1) (Concealed handguns only)
  • State/National Forests: YES
  • State Wildlife Management Areas: YES14-415.11(c3)
  • Road Side Rest Areas:  YES14-415.11(c3)

If the restaurant is not posted with a “No Weapons” sign then it is OK to enter.

“Yes” or “No” states if you can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Some restaurants may be posted with “NO GUN” signs. Check with the staff if this means just the bar area. If we have indicated a “Yes” then it should be legal to have a meal without drinking alcohol.

The Law


North Carolina gun laws give “No Weapons” signs the force of law. There are legal penalties for entering a private property or business that has posted these signs.

GunsToCarry recommends that you do not enter a property displaying a “No Weapons” sign whether the law is for or against signage. If asked to leave a property and you refuse to do so then you are breaking the law and put yourself at risk of being charged.

The Law
14-415.11 – Scope of Permit
14-415.21 – Punishable as Infraction

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; and, as standing armies in time of peace are dangerous to liberty, they shall not be maintained, and the military shall be kept under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power. Nothing herein shall justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons, or prevent the General Assembly from enacting penal statutes against that practice.”
Art. 1 § 30

no weapons sign in north carolina

Off-Limits Statutes

Other CCW Statutes

North Carolina CCW FAQ's

frequently asked questions on north carolina gun laws

North Carolina CCW Contacts

Mecklenburg County Sheriff


Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm

Saturday Closed

Sunday Closed


Address 700 E. Fourth Street

CityCharlotte, NC28202

Phone (704) 336-3665

Updates & Data Sources

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3 Comments on "North Carolina Gun Laws"

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Thank you
Dave Oakley
Palmyra NY

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