North Dakota protects the right to bear arms under Section 1 of the state constitution, but this does not mean that everyone may carry a gun, or that you may always carry a gun wherever you like. While you may openly carry an unloaded weapon without a permit during the day, or at any time on your own land or fixed place of business, North Dakota requires a concealed carry permit to carry a loaded weapon concealed on (or near) you body or vehicle at any other place during the day or night. (N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-03.1.) For more information on permitting laws, see Gun Permit Laws in North Dakota.
The following sections explain who may not have a gun, and the circumstances or situations when carrying a gun is illegal.
People Who May Not Carry a Gun in North Dakota
The following individuals are prohibited from carrying a weapon (open or concealed) in North Dakota.
- people younger than 21 years old
- people ineligible to possess a firearm under federal law
- people convicted of certain violent crimes; a felony; or offenses involving alcohol, illegal drugs, crimes of moral turpitude, or domestic violence.
- people adjudicated as mentally incompetent, confined or committed to a hospital or institution, and who have suffered from this mental disability at some point within the last three years (unless adjudication has been withdrawn or reversed)
(N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-02.01 & 62.1-04-03.)
Situations or Circumstances Where Carrying a Gun is Illegal
The following rules govern when you may not carry a gun in North Dakota. They do not apply to law enforcement officers, active duty members of the armed services, people participating in organized shooting events or gun shows, and municipal and district court judges.
- You may not carry a concealed or loaded firearm on or near your body or vehicle without a concealed carry permit. In addition to the exceptions listed above, this does not apply to a person engaged in lawful hunting or trapping. (N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-02.01 & 62.1-02-10.)
- You may not carry a weapon at a public gathering (such as, but not limited to, sporting events, public parks, in churches, or at political rallies). (N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-02.05.)
- You may not carry a weapon into gaming establishments or establishments where alcoholic beverages are sold. This does not apply to owners of such an establishment, when in their own establishment; or an employee, or private security personnel delivering or receiving money. (N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-02.04.)
Getting Legal Help
The penalties for violating gun carry laws are serious, and often include harsh fines and long prison sentences. If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to carry a gun in North Dakota, or if you are facing charges for a gun violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.