North Carolina is a shall-issue state with concealed handgun permits issued at the county level by the local sheriff’s office.
In order to buy a handgun from a private individual or dealer, the buyer will need either a pistol purchase permit or a concealed handgun permit. Purchase permit applications include a question regarding the reason for acquiring the permit, such as protection or collecting and may take up to 30 days to process. There is no firearms registry in the state. Only residents are allowed to purchase handguns.
Open carry is legal in North Carolina without a permit. Counties may regulate the display of firearms on public roads, sidewalks, alleys or other public property. The minimum age is 18 years old. Some areas are off-limits, including schools and the State Capitol grounds.
Concealed carry is legal for residents with a North Carolina Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) and for non-residents with any valid license/permit. North Carolina CHP’s are issued to residents and members of the military permanently posted in North Carolina and require a firearms training course that has been approved by the state. The minimum age is 21 years old. In terms of reciprocity, North Carolina recognizes permits from all states.
A person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat in any place a person has the lawful right to be if he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another; or if a person is in one’s home, vehicle or workplace and provided that the person against whom the defensive force was used was an unlawful intruder or was attempting to forcibly and unlawfully enter.
Use of Force A person is justified in using force, except deadly force, when and to the extent that the person reasonably believes that the conduct is necessary to defend himself or herself or another against the other’s imminent use of unlawful force.
Use of Deadly Force However, a person is justified in the use of deadly force and does not have a duty to retreat in any place he or she has the lawful right to be if either of the following applies:
The person reasonably believes that such force is necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another.
The lawful occupant of a home, motor vehicle or workplace is presumed to have held a reasonable fear of imminent death or serious bodily harm to himself or herself or another when using defensive force that is intended or likely to cause death or serious bodily harm to another if both of the following apply:
The person against whom the defensive force was used was in the process of unlawfully and forcefully entering or had unlawfully and forcibly entered a home, motor vehicle or workplace, or that person had removed or was attempting to remove another against that person’s will from the home, motor vehicle or workplace; and
The person who uses defensive force knew or had reason to believe that an unlawful and forcible entry or unlawful and forcible act was occurring or had occurred.
“Home” is defined as a building or conveyance of any kind, including its curtilage, whether the building or conveyance is temporary or permanent, mobile or immobile, which has a roof over it, including a tent, and is designed as a temporary or permanent residence.
Immunity from Liability Force which is intended or likely to cause death or bodily injury is immune from civil or criminal liability or the wrongful death of a person against whom such force was used if the use of such force was justified.
If North Carolina requires a permit to carry a concealed firearm, how are those permits issued?
North Carolina is a shall-issue state.
Minimum Age for Concealed Carry?
What is the minimum age in North Carolina to get a concealed carry permit?
You must be 21 to apply for a concealed carry permit in North Carolina.
Weapons Other Than Handguns Allowed?
Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in North Carolina with a concealed carry permit (or under permitless carry if applicable)?
No. A North Carolina CHP does not allow the concealed carry of non-handgun weapons.
Tasers or Stun Guns?
Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in North Carolina?
Yes. Stun guns and Tasers are legal for anyone at least 18 years old to purchase without a permit. Concealed carry is legal only on an individual’s own premises. The state also specifically prohibits carrying a stun gun on school property, or helping a minor do so.
Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in North Carolina?
Yes, possession and use of self-defense sprays is lawful for use by individuals who have not been convicted of a felony, for self-defense purposes only. No permit is required. The capacity of any tear gas device or container may not exceed 150cc. Tear gas cartridges or shells must not exceed 50cc, and tear gas devices or containers may not have the capability of discharging any cartridge, shell or container larger than 50cc.
Can you carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in North Carolina?
Yes, with a permit. Without a permit, a weapon cannot be BOTH concealed and readily accessible to a person. Therefore a handgun would need to be either openly displayed or in a locked glove box, locked console or in the trunk.
Carry in State/National Parks, State/National Forests and Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)?
Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forests and Wildlife Management Areas in North Carolina?
Yes, with a valid concealed carry permit, although firearms are prohibited in state park visitor centers and park offices. In addition, firearms are prohibited on lands and waters at Falls Lake, Jordan Lake and Kerr Lake state recreation areas managed by the state parks system but owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. See theNational Parks webpage for links to each Park in North Carolina.
Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in North Carolina?
It is a crime for any person to knowingly carry concealed on or about his person 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. The individual hotel should be contacted to inquire about it's concealed carry policy. See theHandguns at Hotels page for additional information.
Does North Carolina have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?
North Carolina statutes address specific employees only.
(4c) Detention personnel or correctional officers employed by the State or a unit of local government who park a vehicle in a space that is authorized for their use in the course of their duties may transport a firearm to the parking space and store that firearm in the vehicle parked in the parking space, provided that: (i) the firearm is in a closed compartment or container within the locked vehicle, or (ii) the firearm is in a locked container securely affixed to the vehicle;
(c1) No rule adopted under this section shall prohibit the transportation or storage of a firearm in a closed compartment or container within a person's locked vehicle or in a locked container securely affixed to a person's vehicle. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a legislator or legislative employee who parks a vehicle in a State-owned parking space that is leased or assigned to that legislator or legislative employee may transport a firearm to the parking space and store that firearm in the vehicle parked in the parking space, provided that:
(i) the firearm is in a closed compartment or container within the legislator's or legislative employee's locked vehicle, or
(ii) the firearm is in a locked container securely affixed to the legislator or legislative employee's vehicle."’
Are "No Weapons Allowed" signs enforced in North Carolina? If yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.
Yes. 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.
A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor.
No definition of brandishing was found in North Carolina law. However, if any person shall point any gun or pistol at any person, either in fun or otherwise, whether such gun or pistol be loaded or not loaded, he shall be guilty of a crime.
Carry While Using Alcohol or Controlled Substances?
Does North Carolina have laws regarding carrying a concealed firearm while using alcohol or Controlled Substances?
Not while consuming alcohol or at any time while the person has remaining in the person's body any alcohol or in the person's blood a controlled substance previously consumed, but a person does not violate this condition if a controlled substance in the person's blood was lawfully obtained and taken in therapeutically appropriate amounts or if the person is on the person's own property.
As a responsibly armed American, regardless of the laws in your state, it is unwise to carry while under the influence of any substance that could impair your judgement, slow your reaction times, or impact your decision-making abilities. Any decision you make while carrying a firearm could have life-altering consequences.
Does North Carolina issue concealed carry permits to non-residents?
Only for members of the military permanently posted in North Carolina.
PUBLIC ACCESS TO CONCEALED CARRY REGISTRY?
Does North Carolina allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?
No, however the information is available for law enforcement.
Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in North Carolina?
Yes. A permit to purchase a handgun or a concealed handgun permit is required when purchasing a handgun in North Carolina.
Background Checks for Private Gun Sales?
Are background checks required for private gun sales in North Carolina?
Yes. North Carolina law prohibits the sale or transfer of a handgun to a person who has not obtained a permit to purchase a handgun or a concealed handgun permit from the sheriff of the county in which the person resides.
Handgun Purchase Process In order to purchase a handgun in North Carolina, you must have either a North Carolina-issued Concealed Carry Handgun permit (CCH) or a handgun purchase permit. A handgun purchase permit must be obtained through your local county sheriff’s office. In order to qualify for a permit, you must have been a resident of the county in which you live for at least 30 days prior to applying and possess a valid North Carolina driver’s license or State ID Card.
The first part of the application will be completed online on the county sheriff’s website. After entering your required personal information, you will need to make any necessary payments. If you apply for your permit in person at the county sheriff’s office, the convenience fee will be waived.
After submitting your application, you will receive a Release of Court Orders Form to be notarized. This form must be returned to your county sheriff’s office within 5 days. Processing times generally range from 14 days to 30 days depending on the county in which you are applying. You will receive a letter in the mail indicating whether your application was approved or denied. Upon approval, you must pick up your purchase permit within 28 days.
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State Constitutional Provision
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 should 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."
Note: Firearms must be carried in accordance with the laws of the state you are visiting. Be sure to check the laws of the other state before traveling there with your firearms.
States That Have Restricted Reciprocity with North Carolina
North Carolina offers resident and non-resident (members of the military permanently posted in North Carolina) permits. If indicated with “Resident only” below, that state only honors North Carolina resident permits (and not those issued to non-residents).
Anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed in permitless carry states without a permit/license. The minimum age* for permitless carry is shown. Check each state’s page for more information and any restrictions that may apply.
*PC-18 = permitless carry if at least 18 years old
*PC-21 = permitless carry if at least 21 years old
Have completed an approved firearms training class (there are exemptions for military veterans and law enforcement);
Be a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident alien;
Be a resident of North Carolina for 30 days preceding the filing of the application;
Be a resident of the county in which the application is filed;
Not be under indictment for a felony or against whom a finding of probable cause exists for a felony;
Not have been adjudicated guilty of a felony in any court, unless: the felony is an offense that pertains to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices or restraints of trade, or the person’s firearm rights have been restored pursuant to state law;
Not be a fugitive from justice;
Not suffer from a physical or mental infirmity that prevents the safe handling of a handgun;
Not have been discharged from the Armed Forces under conditions other than honorable;
Not be an unlawful user of or addicted to marijuana, alcohol or any depressant, stimulant or narcotic drug or other controlled substance;
Not have been adjudicated guilty of or received a prayer for judgment continued or suspended sentence for one or more specified crimes of violence constituting a misdemeanor within 3 years of the date of application;
Not have been adjudicated guilty of or received a prayer for judgment continued or suspended sentence for one or more crimes of violence constituting a misdemeanor for certain types of assault and battery, stalking, child abuse and domestic criminal trespass crimes, and a violation of a protective order;
Not have been adjudicated guilty of or received a prayer for judgment continued or suspended sentence for one or more crimes involving an assault or a threat to assault a law enforcement officer, probation or parole officer, person employed at a State or local detention facility, firefighter, emergency medical technician, medical responder or emergency department personnel;
Not have been convicted of an impaired driving offense within 3 years prior to the date on which the application is submitted;
Not have had judgment continued for or free on bond or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal or sentencing for a disqualifying criminal offense;
Not currently be or has not been adjudicated or administratively determined to be lacking mental capacity or mentally ill; and
North Carolina only issues non-resident permits to members of the military permanently posted in North Carolina. The process is the same as for residents.
You will need to check with your local sheriff’s office as the requirements may vary. This can be done for free in some counties.
You will need to check with your local sheriff’s office as the requirements may vary. There is a $15 duplicate permit fee.
Moving to North Carolina and interested in applying for a resident permit? How soon can you apply? North Carolina issues permits to residents and members of the military permanently posted in North Carolina only. You can apply for your permit to the sheriff of your county once you have been a resident of North Carolina for 30 days.
Moving from North Carolina and have a North Carolina resident permit? Does that permit transfer to your new state? Is there a grace period during which your North Carolina permit remains valid? If a person with a North Carolina concealed handgun permit establishes residency in another state, the permit expires upon the establishment of residence in the other state.
NC CHP applicants must complete a state-approved training course given by a state-certified trainer. The concealed carry handgun safety class is regulated to be a minimum of 8 hours long and must include a written test on state laws pertaining to the use of deadly force and restrictions on the locations a handgun may be carried in a concealed fashion. In addition, the applicant must shoot a designated course of fire and obtain a passing score.
An approved course must be any course which satisfies the requirements of this subdivision and is certified or sponsored by:
The North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission,
The National Rifle Association, or
A law enforcement agency, college, private or public institution or organization, or firearms training school, taught by instructors certified by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission or the National Rifle Association.
North Carolina Concealed Carry Permit Renewal Process
How to Renew a North Carolina Concealed Carry Permit
At least 45 days prior to the expiration date of a concealed carry permit, the sheriff will send a written notice to the permittee explaining that the permit is about to expire. If the holder of the permit applies to renew the permit before it expires, the permit will remain valid beyond the expiration date of the permit until the permittee either receives a renewal permit or is denied a renewal permit by the sheriff. If the permittee does not apply to renew the permit prior to its expiration date, but does apply to renew the permit within 60 days after the permit expires, the sheriff may waive the requirement of taking another firearms safety course; however, the person may not carry a concealed handgun under this expired permit. You should begin filing an application for renewal with your county sheriff’s office at least 30 days prior to the expiration of the original permit.
A concealed handgun permit holder who is or will be deployed for military service is allowed to apply with the sheriff for an extension of the concealed handgun permit up to an additional 90 days after the permittee’s scheduled deployment is to end.
Law enforcement officers (LEOs) and Retired LEOs (RLEOs) may choose to carry under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), often referred to as HR 218. Under 18 U.S. Code §§ 926B & 926C, qualified LEOs and qualified retired LEOs, or those separated from service in good standing, can carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with some exceptions. For details check out our Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) page.
The North Carolina General Assembly enacted legislation to allow for the NC Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission to establish standards and guidelines for the annual firearms certification of qualified retired law enforcement officers. The Commission adopted Administrative Rules 9H .0101 – .015, which establishes that only instructors who hold Specialized Instructor Certification in Firearms issued by the Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission may conduct LEOSA firearms qualification training.
A retired officer residing in North Carolina may meet the state’s standards in one of two ways:
The retired officer may qualify with the agency from which he/she retired. Under this scenario, the agency is responsible for providing documentation to the retired officer to verify their completion of the annual in-service firearms training and qualification requirements. No documentation would have to be submitted to the Criminal Justice Standards Commission by the agency or the officer; or,
The retired officer may go to a Criminal Justice Standards Commission-certified law enforcement Specialized Firearms Instructor and complete the training and qualification and then apply to the Commission for certification under the new Retired Law Enforcement Officers Firearms Qualification Certification Program.
Where Can I Carry a Concealed Firearm in North Carolina?
Carry in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol? Yes, unless posted and provided you do not consume any alcohol or have any alcohol in your system.
Carry in my vehicle without a permit/license? No, only with a permit. Without a permit, a concealed handgun must not be readily accessible. Storage in a locked glove box, locked console or in the trunk is lawful. An openly displayed handgun is also allowed.
Carry in roadside rest areas? Yes.
Carry in state/national parks, state/national forests, and WMAs? Yes.
Carry in places of worship? There is no State statute prohibiting concealed carry in places of worship. However, since places of worship are private property, they may post signs prohibiting firearms.
Where Can't I Carry a Concealed Firearm in North Carolina?
Places off-limits even with a permit/license
Schools, public or private, all levels including universities (gun can remain in a locked container or a locked firearm rack in vehicle, if you have a permit; however private schools can prohibit this) [N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.2(k)];
School buses, campuses, grounds, recreation areas, athletic fields and other property used or owned by an educational institution [N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.2(a)(1)];
State Capitol Building, the Executive Mansion, the Western Residence of the Governor or on the grounds of any of these buildings (gun can remain locked in vehicle, if you have a permit) [N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.4];
State fairgrounds (except a handgun in a closed compartment or container within the person's locked vehicle or in a locked container securely affixed to the person's vehicle) [N.C. Gen. Stat. § 106-503.2];
Lands and waters at Falls Lake, Jordan Lake and Kerr Lake state recreation areas managed by the state parks system but owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers [36 C.F.R. § 327.13]
It is illegal to own a spring-loaded projectile knife, ballistic knife or any similar weapon.The open carry of any legal weapon is allowed, so long as you are not carrying it in order to terrify or alarm the public. The concealed carry of Bowie knives, dirks, daggers, razors or butcher’s knives is illegal, except when on the person's own premises. It is illegal to open or concealed carry any knife on a school campus, state property or into a courthouse. Dangerous weapons are also banned from parades, funeral processions, picket lines, or demonstration upon any private health care facilities.
I can legally carry a concealed firearm in North Carolina, but can I wear a COVID 19 protective mask while carrying concealed?
Per § 14-12.7 and § 14-12,8, it is illegal for anyone over 16 years old to wear a mask, hood or disguise that conceals the identity of the wearer, on any public way or on public property in the State. However, a law was enacted during the pandemic to create an exemption.
SB 704/SESSION LAW 2020-3(6) Any person wearing a mask for the purpose of ensuring the physical health or safety of the wearer or others is exempt from the provisions of G.S. 14-12.7, 14-12.8, 14-12.9, 14-12.10 and 14-12.14.
CARRY WHILE GUN HUNTING?
Can you concealed carry while shotgun/rifle hunting in North Carolina?
CARRY WHILE BOW HUNTING?
Can you concealed carry while bow hunting in North Carolina?
Yes. On State-owned game lands, and all other lands unless prohibited by the landowner, persons may lawfully carry any firearm openly that they are otherwise lawfully entitled to possess, and may also carry a concealed handgun if they possess a current and valid concealed handgun permit issued to them. However, persons may not hunt with any firearm being carried unless such firearm is authorized as a lawful method of take for that open season. The NC Wildlife Resources Commission maintains a list of exempted game lands where concealed carry is prohibited.
Is there a Hunter Harassment Law in North Carolina?
Yes. It is unlawful for a person to interfere intentionally with the lawful taking of wildlife resources or to drive, harass, or intentionally disturb any wildlife resources for the purpose of disrupting the lawful taking of wildlife resources.
Here at the USCCA, it is our mission to provide responsible gun owners with the tools they need to be educated and trained. Our team is constantly working to provide you with the most up-to-date and comprehensive list of self-defense laws available for every state.
If you have any questions that you don’t see answered here — let us know! Just email [email protected] and we will be sure to get your question resolved. Your feedback matters to us, and we appreciate you helping to make this page the best possible resource for responsible gun owners!
Permit numbers were obtained from the Crime Prevention Resource Center’s publication entitled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States.” Numbers include resident and non-resident permits for those states that issue both.
The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.
If you have any questions regarding USCCA Membership, Delta Defense, handguns laws or the lawful process of carrying concealed, please contact the award-winning Delta Defense Customer Engagement Team.
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