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
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permits in North Carolina

Gun Laws

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states not
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North Carolina CCW Dashboard

total active ccw
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Gun Laws

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North Carolina CCW Reciprocity

NORTH CAROLINA 2018

  • 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

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STATES
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
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states & Districts

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
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states
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

MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

  • 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

Residents
Minimum
0
age required
cost of
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0
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

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.

1995

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

2004

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

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

2012

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

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

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

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
14-415.21

NO

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.

YES
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)
YES

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
14-269.3

YES

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

Hours


Monday – Friday 8am – 5pm

Saturday Closed

Sunday Closed


Contact


Address 700 E. Fourth Street

CityCharlotte, NC28202

Phone (704) 336-3665

 

Updates & Data Sources

Important

The information contained on this page is not legal advice but is merely a starting point for your own research. It is up to you to decide what the best course of action is for your circumstances. We are not lawyers, if you'd like individualized legal advice, we'd be happy to refer you to some law practices with known firearm specializations. It is crucial that you understand the law before you carry a firearm. Also, remember that just because a statute may clearly say one thing or another, that doesn't mean all members of law enforcement know it. That also goes for lawyers and even judges too.

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Russell
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Russell

I possess a NC CWP. What are the recommendations for managing a weapon in a vehicle when traveling through a non reciprocal state such as IL. Is it acceptable to simply make it visible and not within reach.

Curtis Vanhook
Guest
Curtis Vanhook

I just brought a gun with my permit but i dont have a cc permit can i ealk around with my gun in a holster in nc without getting in trouble with the law

Thomas Davis
Guest
Thomas Davis

Is my wife covered under my CONSEALED permit is I happen to leave a weapon in my vehicle.

Mark Hampton
Guest
Mark Hampton

Is a permit required every single time that I wish to purchase a handgun in NC? If not does the permit have an expiration date? Thanks.

Brian
Guest
Brian

Yes, you need a new one each time you purchase a handgun. Permits Are good for five years from date of issue. They take about 14 business days to obtain, so buy a couple if you are buying even just one handgun.

Robert Yeager
Guest
Robert Yeager

can somebody please tell me how many guns are you somebody allowed to own a hundred

Brian
Guest
Brian

Own as many as wish.

Peter
Guest
Peter

How does a hand gun permit with a couple? If one of the persons has a permit, can the other use the hand gun and if so where are they allowed to use it.

Brian
Guest
Brian

The permit is to buy, not to use. You should always have the person who will, in truth, actually own the gun, make the purchase (and thus obtain the permit), lest you ever be accused of making a “straw man purchase” under FEDERAL law (a much, much bigger deal). But using the firearm within a family unit,msuch as a relationship, should never be an issue. My wife buys her guns, I buy mine, but we feel free to use each others. This is lot like asking if you can buy your significant other a gun as as a present, and… Read more »

Brian
Guest
Brian

You can NOT purchase your Significant other, Wife or anyone else a pistol. In order to purchase a handgun, a background check must be done.

Tom
Guest
Tom

Hello; I am a retired NY State Trooper and prior to retiring, applied for my New York State Police/Pistol permit which state on the license that I am authorized to possess and carry concealed firearm. I am moving to NC and wanted to find out if my permit will be honored in your state or if there is anything I need to do on my end prior to moving.

Thank you

Doug
Guest
Doug

If I do not have a CCP, and I want to transport my pistol to a practice range, is it legal to carry the pistol in the rear of a station wagon, unloaded and locked in a travel safe? Is that considered concealed? Am I allowed to conceal the safe in the trunk with it locked? or does the safe have to be out in the open? Thanks. Please be specific

R Glover
Guest
R Glover

You will be fine in NC. Concealed by NCDOJ definition is on or about the person. In the back of a car even not locked up can not be looked at as concealed due to it is not readily available. Further to your point, even if it was loaded it can be beside you as long as it is in plain view. Remember NC is an open carry state without any permits. That said getting a CCH is a good thing, It takes away lots of things that otherwise you would be worrying about. Hope that helps.

Markus
Guest
Markus

So I recently renewed my CCP and have seen some changes in the laws. My main question is if a company has a no firearms policy is it still legal to leave my firearm in my vehicle while I’m parked and working inside? I seen some states have a parking lot provision that allows people to do so. Ive seen conflicting information and called local sherrif dept and they referred me to this page. Still not sure. Thanks

JAMES ALLEY
Guest
JAMES ALLEY

I LIVE IN MARION NC CAN ICARRY OPENLY AS LONG AS I GOT A PURUSH PREMITED TO BUY MY HAND GUN AND CAN I CARRY IT OPENLY LOAD ON MY PERSON AS WELL AS IN MY CAR ARE DO I HAVE TO GET A CONCLEAD PREMITTE TO CARRY

john mcanerney
Guest
john mcanerney

Is it legal to enter an ABC Store as a customer with a concealed weapon? The store is owned and operated by the Town of Calabash NC. There is no sign Prohibiting weapons displayed.

Elliott
Guest
Elliott

So I am military I am stationed in South Carolina and I have my SC CWP but I am still a legal resident of North Carolina. My CWP has my SC address and it shows valid with military I.D. So am I covered when I go back home to NC or since I am technically not a resident of SC do I need to apply for my NC permit as well?

Jess
Guest
Jess

My dad gave me a 9mm for my birthday. I’m 29. Do I need to register it or anything? I plan to eventually get my concealed carry but for now it’s just for home defense.

Danny
Guest
Danny

I am a Kentucky resident. KY allows open carry without a permit. I will be traveling to NC at the end of July. Am I allowed to open carry without a permit since I am not a resident?

Eunice Castillo
Guest
Eunice Castillo

Question: I currently have a CCW permit from Virginia and is not expired. Just moved to NC in April. Do I need to get a new CCW permit in NC even though my Virginia one isn’t expired? Thanks .

joe dehorty
Guest
joe dehorty

I live on the VA/NC border but am a resident of VA with a VA CCW. Can I get a gun permit to buy a pistol in NC from a licensed gun dealer?

Brian
Guest
Brian

No. Federal law restricts you to purchasing handguns in your state of legal residence.

Marshall
Guest
Marshall

I have a CC from Utah but live in Illinois, is my CC valid?

D Froenicke
Guest
D Froenicke

What procedure does a resident of NC use to “pass on” or “give” his gun collection to various relatives ? Most of them are NC residents but there may be an out of state relative as well . All the relatives are gun owners and possess a cc permit from their state of residence . Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Bob Sanders
Guest
Bob Sanders

This document says SC and Fla only recognizes residential NC cwp, what is a residential permit.

Jeff Taylor
Guest
Jeff Taylor

I live in Greensboro NC and I was charged with a DWI in January of 2013-I was sleep driving after I had gone to bed and had taken an Ambien. I applied for renewal of my CCP afterward as it was due to expire. I had not gone to trial and had no prior charges or convictions for anything. My renewal was denied. The reason that I received for the denial was that I had been arrested and charged with the DWI and that it was pending. Was the denial based on the arrest an actual legal stipulation within the… Read more »

r glover
Guest
r glover

You can’t obtain a cch permit within three years of a dui/dwi. That said there is a stipulation that if you are awaiting trial for an offence that would cause you to be ineligible to get a cch permit then you will not be able to obtain/renew until after the case is settled. If cleared no issue, if found guilty you will have to wait three years for a dui/dwi.

Travis McGregor
Guest
Travis McGregor

I have a NY concealed carry permit with restrictions to hunting, camping, range, hiking because of the county that I live in. I’m planning to move to NC and I know NC honors my NY CC permit, my question is do the restrictions that my county applied to my permit apply in NC as well, or can I freely CC in NC without regard to my NY restrictions?

Mrs.Rose Williams
Guest
Mrs.Rose Williams

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Peter Batchelor
Guest
Peter Batchelor

Do I need a separate permit for each handgun purchased?

ronin_7
Guest
ronin_7

Yes, a separate permit for each purchase/transfer.

Dwayne Boyd
Guest
Dwayne Boyd

I am a legal owner of a handgun but don’t have a CCW yet and my question is: Is it legal/illegal for me to have my loaded/unloaded firearm laying on the passenger seat while driving?

David J Oakley
Guest
David J Oakley

I will be visiting the outer banks beginning this Saturday. Your site states a NY CC permit is honored in your state. I have read the ruses and just wanted verification that I will be considered legal in your state.

Thank you
Dave Oakley
Palmyra NY