North Carolina Gun Laws

Learn about gun control laws, gun permit requirements, and penalties in North Carolina.

North Carolina requires a background check and permit to purchase a handgun. However, you may openly carry a weapon without a permit. On the other hand, to carry a concealed gun in your car or on (or near) your body, you must usually obtain a license. For more information, see Open and Concealed Gun Carrying Laws in North Carolina.

How to Obtain a Concealed Handgun License in North Carolina

To obtain a concealed handgun license, you must apply at the sheriff’s office in the county where you live. To qualify, you must:

  • be at least 21 years old
  • be a United States citizen
  • be a resident of North Carolina for at least 30 days before the date that the application is filed
  • not suffer from any physical or mental infirmity that prevents the safe handling of a handgun, and
  • successfully complete an approved firearms safety and training course which involves actual firing of handguns and instruction in the laws of North Carolina regarding concealed handguns and the use of deadly force.

(N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-415.12.)

Does North Carolina Recognize Concealed Carry Gun Permits From Other States?

Yes. A valid concealed handgun permit or license issued by another state is valid in North Carolina. Furthermore, a North Carolina citizen may purchase a firearm in another state as long as that state requires a background check through the National Instant Background Check System, and that purchase is not otherwise prohibited by law. (N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-415.24 &14-409.10.)

Penalties for Failing to Obtain a Concealed Carry Permit

It is illegal to carry a concealed pistol or gun in North Carolina without a concealed carry permit, unless you are on your own property. A first offense is a class 2 misdemeanor, and penalties include a fine of up to $1,000, up to 60 days in jail, or both. A second or subsequent offense is a class I felony, and penalties may include one or a combination of: a fine, house arrest, probation, or up to 15 months in prison. (N.C. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 14-26.)

Getting Legal Help

If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to carry a gun in North Carolina, or if you are facing charges for a gun permit violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.

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