North Carolina Gun Laws

Gun Control Laws in North Carolina

North Carolina, like a lot of the southern states, has very permissive gun laws. There aren’t any restrictions on ammunition, magazine capacity and only limited restrictions for open carry. Except for military personnel stationed in North Carolina, the state only issues carry permits for residents. North Carolina allows the purchase and ownership of assault weapons. When purchasing guns from a private person or a dealer, you must have either a pistol purchase permit or a North Carolina Concealed Handgun Permit. You can get either from your local sheriff’s office. When you apply, they will perform a full background check on you. North Carolina does not allow anyone with a felony or any illegal aliens to purchase firearms in the state. Currently, North Carolina has 604,737 active concealed carry licenses.

State CCW Quick Facts

  • Shall Issue State gun policy
  • Yes Open Carry Permitted
  • No Constitutional Carry
  • Yes Carry In Restaurants
  • Yes Carry In Vehicle
  • Residents License issued to
  • 604,737 Number of Active CCW Permits
  • 38 # of states that honor North Carolina license
  • 53 # of state licenses that North Carolina honors
  • 5 Years license is valid
  • 80 $ cost of the license
  • 21 Minimum age for license permit

North Carolina’s policy is Shall Issue in practice and its license is issued to residents. You can carry a handgun in: 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 not listed as forbidden.

North Carolina CCW Reciprocity Map

The thirty-eight states that honor a North Carolina gun permit are 

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, and Wyoming. North Carolina is very generous with reciprocity and honors all other states that issue gun permits such as, 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, the District of Columbia, New York City, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

The twelve states that will not honor a North Carolina gun permit are 

California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, and Rhode Island.

  • Permit honored
  • Permit not honored
  • Issuing state

North Carolina Concealed Carry Permit and Laws

North Carolina is a “May Issue” state, and the local county sheriff’s office issues permits to residents who qualify. North Carolina is very liberal with their carry policies, and you can take your firearm with you to all state parks and national forests. You can have it in your vehicle with you and at rest areas. With a permit, you can take it to parades, funerals and even on school campus (although it must remain locked in your vehicle). You may not carry weapons into law enforcement agencies, detention centers, state offices, school grounds or buildings, demonstrations, private property, government buildings or any place that serves alcohol. North Carolina allows open carry, but you must notify an officer if you are carrying both concealed or open. You must obey “no weapons” signs, but you can carry into restaurants, even if they serve alcohol.

CCW Eligibility: Qualify or Pre-Qualify?

You must be at least twenty-one years old when applying for a North Carolina gun permit. You also have to take a firearms training course. You must live in the county where you apply and have been a resident of North Carolina for at least 30 days. You must also be a legal U.S. citizen and have no mental illness. You cannot have any felonies or misdemeanors or any driving infractions on your record. You must be physically able to manage using a gun, and you must comply with all federal regulations.

North Carolina Gun Background Check

North Carolina is a partial “point of contact” state and therefore when a buyer wants to purchase a long gun from a dealer, they must contact the FBI and use NCIS for a background check. If the buyer wants to buy a handgun, the dealer must first verify that they have a permit to purchase. Residents can get them from their local sheriff’s offices. When applying for one, the local police will do a full background check on them.

  • Permits
  • Handguns
  • Long Guns
  • Total

NC CCW and Pistol Permit Information

State Concealed Carry 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

Gun CCW Permit Application

  1. Complete your firearm training course if required.
  2. Download the application from the forms section. Some counties offer an online application.
  3. You will need the following documents; The original certificate of completion from a firearms course Valid photographic identification and proof of residence (NC Driver’s License or ID card). Military personnel must bring forms 1380E (active duty) or DD-214 (discharged). Naturalized citizens must bring your Naturalization Certificate or a valid U.S. Passport U.S. citizens born outside of the U.S.A. to U.S. parent(s) must bring your documentation from the Department of State (Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Certificate of Citizenship, or Certification of Report of Birth) Lawful permanent resident aliens must bring a valid US Permanent Resident Card.
  4. Take the application to your local Sheriffs office and complete under oath.
  5. The Sheriff will take two sets of fingerprints.
  6. Sign a release authorizing disclosure to the Sheriff of any records relating to your mental health.
  7. You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.
  8. A NICS background check is required for all new applications and renewals.

CCW Renewal

  • Concealed Handgun Permits must be renewed within 90 days before the expiry date but not before.
  • If the permit has expired but for not more than 60 days you will need to apply for a new permit, however there is no training course required.
  • If the permit has expired for more than 60 days you will be required to complete a training course and make a new application.

NC Concealed Carry License Fee information

Permit typeFees when getting a new permitRenewalCurrent license amendmentFingerprint scan feeFee for firearm classesAdditional state fees
Handgun purchase permit$5.00$5.00
Concealed handgun permit$80.00 (varies by county)$75.00Duplicate: $15$125.00An additional fee of $10 may be charged for processing your fingerprints. Fees vary between counties.

Places Where You Can & Can’t Carry a Gun in North Carolina

State parksLaw enforcement office or facility
State and national forestsDetention or correctional facility
Road side rest areasA building or part of building housing in which there are state offices
VehicleAny public or private school building or bus, campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic fields or other property used or owned by an educational institution
Parade (with permit)Schools, public or private, all levels including universities. Gun can remain locked in vehicle, if you have a permit
Funeral (with permit)A curricular or extracurricular activity sponsored by a school
School campus (with permit) - must remain locked in vehicleAny 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
Cannot be carried on school grounds.On any private premises where notice that carrying a concealed handgun is prohibited
All areas of the state not listed as ForbiddenState 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
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

North Carolina CCW Contact

North Carolina Bureau of Firearms


Monday – Friday:N/A


Address:Office of Attorney General
9001 Mail Service Center
City:Raleigh, NC 27699
Phone:(919) 716-6400
(919) 716-6500

CCW Licensing Offices in North Carolina

Alamance County Sheriff Office

Office Address
109 South Maple Street Graham, NC 27253

(336) 570-6311

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Alexander County Sheriff Office

Office Address
91 Commercial Park Avenue Taylorsville, NC 28681

(828) 632-1111

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Alleghany County Sheriff Office

Office Address
40 Alleghany St., Suite 100, P. O. Box 53 Sparta, NC 28675

(336) 372-4455

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Anson County Sheriff Office

Office Address
119 North Washington Street Wadesboro, NC 28170

(704) 694-4188

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Ashe County Sheriff Office

Office Address
140 Government Circle Jefferson, NC 28640

(336) 846-5633

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Avery County Sheriff Office

Office Address
300 Shultz Cir, P. O. Box 426 Newland, NC 28657

(828) 733-2071

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Beaufort County Sheriff Office

Office Address
210 North Market Street Washington, NC 27889

(252) 946-7111

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Bertie County Sheriff Office

Office Address
222 County Farm Rd., P. O. Box 157 Windsor, NC 27983

(252) 794-5330

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Reference Links

Counties in North Carolina