North Dakota

“All individuals are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inalienable rights, among which are those of …to keep and bear arms for the defense of their person, family, property, and the state, and for lawful hunting, recreational, and other lawful purposes, which shall not be infringed.”


North Dakota is a shall-issue state. No permits, firearms registration or background checks are required to buy from a private individual. Open carry is legal with a CWL, the minimum age is 18. Concealed carry is also legal. ND will honor permits from states that have agreed to recognize ND’s licenses. ND has a self-defense law based on the Castle Doctrine. There is a duty to retreat required outside a dwelling. Justified force is immune from civil liability or the wrongful death.

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, North Dakota will recognize another state’s license to carry if that state recognizes North Dakota’s license:

“A person who has a valid license issued by another state to carry a concealed firearm or dangerous weapon in that state and whose state grants to residents of this state the right to carry a concealed firearm or dangerous weapon without requiring a separate license to carry a concealed firearm or dangerous weapon issued by that state may carry, subject to the provisions of this state’s law, a concealed firearm or dangerous weapon in this state, and the other state’s license is valid in this state.”

Non-residents must have a valid concealed weapons license from their home state, which is determined by their driver’s license and the state must have reciprocity with North Dakota. Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the North Dakota State Police at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur. States add and delete states with reciprocity agreements over time.

Duty To Notify Police Officer

If You are a North Dakota Resident carrying under permitless carry, You must immediately inform the LEO that You are carrying a firearm. If You have a permit/license issued by North Dakota or a state they honor, You do not need to inform the LEO unless they ask. Every individual while carrying a concealed firearm or dangerous weapon, for which a license to carry concealed is required, must have on one’s person the license issued by North Dakota or another state and must provide it to any LEO for an inspection upon demand by the LEO.

Carrying Firearms In Vehicles

North Dakota permits anyone who may legally possess a firearm to carry it in a vehicle without a permit, openly or concealed, so long as the firearm is unloaded. A carry permit is generally required to carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

NFA Items

North Dakota 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 30 days if the applicant is not prohibited by law from receiving it. NFA-compliant automatic firearms must be registered with the county sheriff and the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

Self-Defense Laws

North Dakota has a Castle Doctrine but no SYG law. There is no duty to retreat when in Your dwelling. 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, the commission of a forcible felony, or if necessary to protect Your dwelling, place of business, or occupied motor home from arson, burglary, robbery, or other forcible felonies.

Carry In Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

North Dakota has no laws prohibiting the carrying of firearms in restaurants that serve alcohol. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then it is suggested that You not carry into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant – You are prohibited from carrying into these areas. You can carry Your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but 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?

“No Firearm” signs in North Dakota do not have the force of law unless they are posted on property that is specifically mentioned in State Law as being off limits to those with a permit/license to carry. However, as a possessor with a real property interest, a retailer, has the right to limit, and qualify the right to enter the property, subject to not carrying a handgun. It would be improper to enter, and the licensee would be subject to ejection for possession of a handgun thereat. Failure to leave once requested would subject the licensee to criminal charges.

Open Carry

Open carry is legal, but non-residents must have a valid permit/license to carry a concealed handgun that North Dakota issues or honors in order to open carry. North Dakota residents who have been a resident of North Dakota for at least one year can carry without a permit. Open carry of long guns is generally permitted. Non-permit holders may carry one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset, provided the firearm is unloaded and in plain sight. The minimum age for open carry is 18.

DISCLAIMER: The Gun Laws by State Guide (GLBSG) was created to provide its readers with a general educational resource tool to explore the pertinent gun laws in Your jurisdiction.

However, the GLBSG was not researched and/or written by attorneys as a specific legal guide to rely upon. Instead, it is a starting point for your own research. In addition, all laws are always subject to reasonable, but different, legal interpretation as to meaning and application.

As such, the GLBSG is not intended to supplant, nor limit, Your need for independent verification of any and all material contained herein and consultation with competent counsel of choice regarding any specific issues.

This type of specific legal analysis is necessarily beyond the general educational objective of the GLBSG and for which a bar-admitted attorney in the particular state(s) is needed and required. The content of this GLBSG is a general restatement of the law.

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