Gun Laws in North Carolina

In terms of the overall legal environment, North Carolina is probably one of the most gun-friendly states in the nation. Nevertheless, there are certain rules that residents must obey to avoid criminal charges.

NC Gun Laws

North Carolina is a limited permitless state. Open carry is allowed without a permit, if the person can legally own a firearm (e.g. old enough, no felony convictions, etc.). Moreover, state law places no limits on weapon caliber size or magazine capacity regarding open carry.

However, concealed carry requires a permit. To obtain one, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be a resident in the county where you applied for the permit
  • Lived in the state for 30 days
  • Complete a minimum eight-hour training course
  • Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident alien
  • Not have a mental or physical disability that prevents safe handling of a firearm
  • Not have been convicted of a felony or certain other crimes, such as DWI, within three years prior to the application date.

Concealed Carry in North Carolina

Anyone who possesses a concealed carry permit from another state can carry a concealed weapon in North Carolina. State law permits concealed carry in vehicles, parks, forests, rest areas, funerals (with a special permit from police), parades (with a special permit from police), school campus (as long as they are locked in a vehicle and not on school grounds), and even bars and restaurants (if permit carriers don’t consume alcohol and the firearm remains hidden the entire duration of the visit). State law also allows open carry in many of the same places as concealed carry.


Convicted felons, individuals who pleaded insanity and were not convicted, and individuals who lack the capacity to proceed in criminal court may not carry guns in North Carolina. Felons who carry guns could be charged with a Class G felony, which could mean up to thirty-one months in prison. In the other two aforementioned situations, carrying a gun is a Class H felony, which carries a maximum of 25 months.

If any person carries a concealed gun without a permit, a first offense is a Class 2 misdemeanor, unless s/he is inside his/her own property. Any subsequent offense is a Class H felony.

Finally, carrying a gun into a prohibited place, like a parade, demonstration, courthouse, funeral, or certain state property without a permit is a Class 1 misdemeanor. Bringing a gun to a school campus is a more serious Class I felony.

Understand Your Rights and Speak with an Attorney

If you have been arrested for any gun crime in North Carolina, contact the Raleigh criminal defense attorneys at Sandman, Finn & Fitzhugh, Attorneys at Law, today. Go online or call us at (919) 845-6688.