North Carolina

“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.”


North Carolina is a shall-issue state. To buy from a private individual or dealer, the buyer needs a purchase permit or a CHP. There is no firearms registry in the state. Open carry is legal without a permit. Concealed carry is legal with a Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP). The minimum age is 21. NC recognizes permits from all states. NC is a Castle Doctrine state and has a “stand your ground” statute. A person does not have a duty to retreat. Justified force is immune from civil or criminal liability or the wrongful death of a person.

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, North Carolina will recognize another state’s license to carry.

Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the North Carolina AG at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur. States add and delete states with reciprocity agreements over time. North Carolina’s reciprocity agreement can be viewed online.

Duty To Notify Police Officer

North Carolina requires holders of permit or license to carry who are approached or addressed by a LEO to inform the Officer that they possess a firearm and provide the Officer with their permit and identification.

Carrying Firearms In Vehicles

North Carolina permits anyone who is legally allowed to possess a firearm to carry it openly in a motor vehicle without a permit, as long as it is readily visible from outside. Concealed carry requires a permit. A handgun is concealed in a vehicle if a person approaching cannot readily see it and if it 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.

NFA Items

North Carolina permits ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law. It is legal to use suppressors for hunting. CLEOs are required to sign an application for the transfer of any item regulated under the NFA within 15 days if the applicant is not prohibited by law from receiving it.

Self-Defense Laws

North Carolina has both Castle Doctrine and SYG laws. There is no duty to retreat from any place You have a legal right to be. You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, or to stop the unlawful & forcible entry into Your dwelling, place of business, or occupied motor vehicle.

Carry In Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

A person may carry in restaurants that serve alcohol, so long as You possess a Permit/License. You can carry a concealed firearm into bars and restaurants that serve alcohol unless a “No Guns Sign” is posted or the owner or manager informs You that guns are prohibited. You are prohibited from carrying while You consume alcohol or are under the influence of alcohol.

Do “No Gun Signs” Have The Force Of Law?

A permit does not authorize a person to carry a concealed handgun on any private premises where notice that carrying a concealed handgun is prohibited by the posting of a conspicuous notice or statement by the person in legal possession or control of the premises. Failure to obey such signs or verbal warnings constitutes trespass.

Open Carry

Open carry is legal, but local governments have some limited authority to restrict firearms in some locations. Whether these local ordinances violate the State’s firearm preemption laws has not yet been tested in North Carolina courts. The minimum age for open carry is 18.

Background Checks

A person acquiring a handgun must have either a permit to purchase a handgun or a concealed handgun permit. A background check is required to obtain either of these permits. A background check is not required for the sale of long guns.

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