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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Good
states that honor
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a N.C. permit
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N.C. honors
states not
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honoring permit

North Carolina CCW Dashboard

total active ccw
0
permits in North carolina

Gun Laws

State Rating
Good
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0
age required

Cost of
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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
$0
CCW permit
Years Permit
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

Disclaimer

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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Jim John
Guest
Jim John

This is incorrect. You are permitted to carry a weapon to a facility that provides alcoholic beverages (provided there is no sign) as long as you do not consume any alcohol.

Chase K
Guest
Chase K

“If we have indicated a “Yes” then it should be legal to have a meal without drinking alcohol.” This is stated in the restaurant drop down menu.

Ramon L
Guest
Ramon L

In the state of North Carolina, if you are active duty in the military, can you apply for a conceal carry permit under the age of 21?

Evan D
Guest
Evan D

Does a NC CCW only allow concealment of a handgun or can you conceal a rifle or shotgun as well? I am referencing concealing a AR under the rear seat of my truck.

Kadee Lee
Guest
Kadee Lee

Question. With young children in the home, must the gun stay in a safe? Or does the top of the fridge count as away from kids? Tired of arguing and looking for the answer via NC laws.

Andy
Guest
Andy

When you buy a firearm you are notified that it is your responsibility to ensure that minors do not have access to the said firearm and that you are legally responsible if gain access because you failed to properly secure it. While there is not yet a law requiring a safe the law would look at storing on top of a fridge as improper storage as young children are capable of climbing counters or using chairs to stand on. This storage aspect with minors usually doesn’t come into any until a minor commits suicide with said firearm. The parents in… Read more »

Santi
Guest
Santi

Comon cuz Even a 3 years old child can clim on tap of refrigerator locked it homy

Kameron
Guest
Kameron

I’m 21 from South Carolina I’m going to be visiting Charlotte North Carolina soon. I don’t have my CWP yet . But I do own a pistol am I still allowed to open carry in Charlotte or other legal parts of NC

BoyfromNC
Guest
BoyfromNC

Yes you’ll be fine big daddy

Ellen
Guest
Ellen

Can someone have loaded handguns in their home if considered mentally ill by a family member? If not, should they report it to the police for removal?

Larry
Guest
Larry

I believe that should be determined by a licensed professional or court. Sometimes I would say half my family has mental problems. Just because a person in the family thinks so does not make it so

Concearned citizen
Guest
Concearned citizen

what a dumb question! REALLY??? You must be the “ill” one to ask a dumb question like that.

Chad
Guest
Chad

With NC ccw am I able to carry into and around VA?

Larry
Guest
Larry

Is that Virginia or the Veterans Administration. If it the Veterans Administration; the answer is No.

Cc
Guest
Cc

I am a manager at a gas station in NC. I have an employee that wants to carry his weapon in a holster. It is against store policy to have a weapon on the premises if you are an employee on the clock. Is his rights being violated?? It is always an argument when he his asked to put his gun in his car. Help please.

Jacob
Guest
Jacob

No his rights aren’t being violated. Your store is allowed to have that as their policy.

David Wayne Mitchell
Guest
David Wayne Mitchell

Nicely said!

Richard Stewart
Guest
Richard Stewart

As a Virginia resident, I found this site helpful and informative regarding the laws in North Carolina and learning where and how I can carry my concealed weapon since I have a permit issued by Virginia. Thank you!!!

matt
Guest
matt

I am unclear on one thing. If I have a non-resident New Hampshire permit can I carry in North Carolina. It says on the attorney general’s site that they honor New Hampshire, but doesn’t say which permits. I contacted the AG, but so far haven’t received a response.

Wells Edwards
Guest
Wells Edwards

Have just a quick question on this.

“A handgun openly displayed or in a locked glove box, locked console, or in the trunk is lawful.”

Does ‘openly displayed’ include holsters on your hip that are NOT concealed under a shirt/jacket/ect? (which would be considered ‘open-carry’ outside of a vehicle). Or does this mean it needs to be up on a dash / in a gun-rack?

Wells Edwards
Guest
Wells Edwards

Just to Clarify… i meant to ask about this as a driver in a vehicle. If i am say, going to a gun-range with a friend, and we both have our fire-arms on our hips, in open-carry fashion, do they ‘remain’ as open-cary. or does it magically turn into ‘concealed’ due to us being in a car and not standing upright in the open?

Noname
Guest
Noname

Nc is vague on “concealed”. It is possible it would be considered concealed on or about your person if firearm is between your body and console or side of seat and NOT READILY VISIBLE and IDENTIFIABLE as a firearm. In a practical world, intent should be determinant, but…I always ensure to remove firearm from my hip and place on ctr console or pass seat, just in case (no ccw) and inform Leo so they are not surprised when they SEE my non-concealed firearm. Don’t want to SURPRISE Leo and it’s common courtesy as they face bad guys with guns all… Read more »

Wells Edwards
Guest
Wells Edwards

Vague is an understatement 😀

I actually did an honest ‘look’ for information on it.. even going so far as to ask a state trooper. And his response was “it’d be better to go to a courthouse and read what they have, as there’s about a room-full of various legal wording when it comes to carrying firearms in cars in NC.”

I may just do what you do.. and let it sit on the passenger seat till i get my Concealed Carry. Just to be on the safe side.

Mason Neal
Guest
Mason Neal

Ok… I’m 18 and I want to purchase a handgun. Is it legal to do so or do I need to be 21?

Jacob
Guest
Jacob

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.

Daisy Link
Guest
Daisy Link

You have to be 21 for handgun

Thomas
Guest
Thomas

Hey, I’m 18 years old. Can I get a concealed carry permit in a state that allows 18 year olds to carry concealed, and then come back to NC and carry concealed? Will they honor that? Or since the law in NC is 21 years old would it be illegal?!

Jacob
Guest
Jacob

If NC honors their permit then it would be legal.

Doug
Guest
Doug

No it is not. you need to honor each state’s concealed carry laws of the State you our in. It is elagal to conceal at 18 in n.c.

Charles Watson Jr
Guest
Charles Watson Jr

I have a Virginia CCW license. I have a relative in Wilmington that we visit regularly. The wording is vague about the vehicle carrying. Is it legal to carry my firearm in my IWB holster while driving my vehicle through the state of NC? And where should it be placed if left in vehicle while entering a no gun zone store? Thank you.

Noname
Guest
Noname

NC recognizes All other states Ccw. However u are subject to NC Ccw regs, so you have duty to notify any officer you come in contact with that you have ccw and carrying. At this time ask how officer would like you to proceed. NC requires that u have ccw and state or fed id on your person at all times when carrying ccw. But ask b4 reaching for your credentials would be good. Leo has some discretion especially if you are not a perp, but you have a duty to notify here in NC. Reasearch NC ccw regs and… Read more »

Noname
Guest
Noname

Locked in glove box or better yet trunk to be safe.

Yung Hatch
Guest
Yung Hatch

Does active duty need cwp or will military Id work in NC

Andy
Guest
Andy

Military ID will NOT work unless you are actively involved in any US Military duty that would warrant you carrying your firearm for the sole purposes of your military activity. Otherwise in any off duty capacity you must abide by the current NC carry laws.

Steve S
Guest
Steve S

Can a out of state homeowner have a rifle or shotgun kept in their home in nc

Michael Kelsey
Guest
Michael Kelsey

There is no issues with legally obtained firearms being kept on your property whether you are present or not. The laws are actually more loose if you own the property. People without a concealed permit can carry concealed on their own property and if you meet the land size requirement, you may discharge your firearm in a safe manner (private range on property).

Bill
Guest
Bill

Yes

Jerry Kidd
Guest
Jerry Kidd

I keep seeing ads on Facebook for concealed permit class online, is this for real and is it acknowledged as legit in the state of NC.?

C. Akers
Guest
C. Akers

No. You must successfully complete an approved CCW training class conducted by a certified instructor.

chris
Guest
chris

u have to take a class in person, there is range time u have to do

steven
Guest
steven

Yes it is legal it’s called a non-resident permit North Carolina honors it

Dick
Guest
Dick

Are bump stocks still legal to own in North Carolina?

Michael Kelsey
Guest
Michael Kelsey

We as a nation have lost the bump stock battle and from what I know, they are no longer sold. As a state we have the ability to protest and still allow bump stocks here but I do not know any firearms dealer that wants to risk it. What I would suggest is a binary trigger, they are much better in my opinion.

Russell
Guest
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.

Josh
Guest
Josh

If IL does not recognize NC’s CCL then you’ll need to obide my the transportation laws covered under the Firearms Protection Act(FOPA). This means the gun and ammo both need to secured (in a locked case) and then placed in the trunk. Also, FOPA does protect you if you stay overnight in that state, so you must pass through IL and not stop for the night.

Steve S
Guest
Steve S

Join the discussion…each state has yhier own laws be very careful