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
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Gun Laws

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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
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0
age required
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0
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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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Richard
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Richard

If I have a NC conceal carry permit, is there a limit as too how many handguns can be purchased using it?

For example, would I be able make purchases on multiple occasions?
Is there a limit of the total amount of handguns that can be purchased on that conceal permit?

Cortney Fowler
Guest
Cortney Fowler

Question: if your friend has a conceal carry and is in your car…can he leave it in your locked glove box? If something went wrong, who would be held responsible? The person who owns the car or the person who owned the gun?

Jimmy Locklear
Guest
Jimmy Locklear

Does driver license have to be updated to reflect conceal carry permit?

Geary
Guest
Geary

North Carolina Concealed Carry Handgun training book states that if you have been convicted of a simple assault you have to wait for a minimum of 3-years to apply for the permit. This also includes other misdemeanor 3-year limit type crimes listed in the book. When does this time start? After the sentence is handed down? When the sentence is completed (for example 6 months in jail or 3 years of probation?). Will this include consecutive sentences that the first charge is a violent charge and the second charge may be, for example, a larceny misdemeanor?

Karl F Schantz
Guest
Karl F Schantz

A permit is not required to open carry in NC, however establishments may bar open carry on their property (Like Walmart is now doing) and it will be enforced by law enforcement officers.

Emanuel
Guest
Emanuel

do i need a open carry permit if I am active duty military member ?

Reds
Guest
Reds

Can I Open carry my handgun in North Carolina if I am a non-resident

JV Smith
Guest
JV Smith

I’m confused. Many gun dealers state that you must have “either” a concealed handgun permit or a pistol purchase permit to buy a handgun. My question is: If I have a concealed carry permit do I still have to have a pistol purchase permit to buy a handgun?

Steven
Guest
Steven

No. if you have a concealed carry it replaces the need for a purchase permit.

Kevin Whiteman
Guest
Kevin Whiteman

Steven is 100% right. But if you’d like to call your County Sheriff’s Office to doublecheck, that would probably help you to rest assured!

Tom
Guest
Tom

No. Your CCW will work as a purchase permit.

Bruce Nixon
Guest
Bruce Nixon

No

Anne Grady
Guest
Anne Grady

You do not. The CC permit is sufficient

Guest
Guest
Guest

NC – are you permitted to carry CW in the house of another if you have been invited and have a permit?

Kevin Whiteman
Guest
Kevin Whiteman

If it were me, I would ask permission of your host just to be sure.

David Blackmon
Guest
David Blackmon

I see that NC is a open carry state I presume that of course means any weapon handgun or long gun. But my major concern is I’m a SC resident but travel around NC some times so does open carry of a handgun also apply to me as a non resident or is it for state residents only.

MissGiggles
Guest
MissGiggles

•HELP• Just trying to fully understand the law here in NC. You only have to have a permit to either conceal carry or PURCHASE correct? So if someone else purchases a pistol & loans it to me for person protection because I will be by myself for a couple months & I am a female living in today’s world… I do not have to get a permit correct? I do not plan on concealing it. I do plan to have it in my vehicle on my dash, in my bedroom on the nightstand while I’m sleeping, things of that nature.… Read more »

Love2fly
Guest
Love2fly

You should take the NC Concealed Carry Course to learn the laws of carrying a firearm, lawful use of deadly force and how to transport legally. If reading the laws is too confusing–nearly everyone has trouble with ‘Legalese’, you may want to spend even more time and perhaps some money verifying whether your intended method of use and storage will violate the law and place you on the wrong side of it. It would be terrible to use a gun in your defense and end up being charged with a crime for a slight misstatement or incorrect wording. Learn what… Read more »

Gregory D Martin
Guest
Gregory D Martin

I’m from GA working in N.C. I had a ccw permit in the state of GA which I let expire but in GA I can still carry a handgun in my vehicle concealed and do not have to tell law-enforment that I am carrying in my vehicle what does N.C. say about me carrying my handgun in my vehicle when I’m here to work because I do not leave home without it I carry it for self-defense only if the laws states that I cannot carry in N.C. while working in the state I will not be able to work… Read more »

Major, US Army, ret Rudy Parnell
Guest
Major, US Army, ret Rudy Parnell

What restrictions on carry and possession of firearms have been lifted concerning military officers and or other honorably discharged veterans. Exactly what are the laws applying to this group ?

Robyn Davis
Guest
Robyn Davis

Rules of goifting a gun to an 18 year old in nc

Robyn Davis
Guest
Robyn Davis

Can you please tell me the rules of goifting a gun to an 18 year old in North Carolina

Raymond
Guest
Raymond

I am traveling to arkansas i have my ccw permit in nc can i carry my pistol concealed the whole trip or do i have to open carry the whole trip

Cody
Guest
Cody

In the State of North Carolina, do Active Duty Military members permanently stationed in NC need a Concealed Weapons Class in order to obtain a Concealed Weapons Permit? In most states military members do not need a concealed weapons class in order to obtain a concealed weapons permit, however I have been searching for information on this even emailing the civil division at the sheriffs office. Please clarify this for me.

Aliscia
Guest
Aliscia

Question, if I am a veteran recently that recently moved to NC do I have to take a class to get a CCW license?

Susan A.
Guest
Susan A.

I had a handgun confiscated because of an alleged incident and the charges were later dropped by the accuser. The handgun is “marital property” at this point,. .and I have the property sheet with my name on it, that I need to retrieve the handgun from local law enforcement. I was told that I had to have a permit to pick up the handgun. I’m not buying it from them. I am not asking to carry it. I am not asking to carry and conceal it. North Carolina is an open to carry state.,..Why would I have to have a… Read more »

Jorge
Guest
Jorge

As strange as it sounds a pistol permit is required prior to the transfer of a pistol irregardless if buying, selling, gift etc. With law enforcement taking your weapon as evidence they legally “took ownership” of the gun so in order to transfer that ownership back to you, you would need a pistol permit even though you aren’t actually buying it back. Hopefully this clears it up.

Michael Curtis
Guest
Michael Curtis

Maybe someone can help me with this because I cannot find a definitive answer anywhere. Is there any law in the state of North Carolina, stating that open carry of an air-soft or BB gun is illegal? I have one that I’d like to carry for self defence for a couple of reasons, the main being that it is not lethal and I would not have to worry about having anybody’s life on my conscious. I plan to buy a holster but I want to have more information about it before I invest in anything to carry it on my… Read more »

Deputy Sheriff
Guest
Deputy Sheriff

It is not illegal to open carry a fake firearm. However it is extremely dangerous to present yourself to the public as armed in the event a situation arises you quickly become the biggest threat to any assailant. If you aren’t prepared to take a life, don’t present yourself as if you are.