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North Carolina Gun Rights

An Overview of Gun Laws in North Carolina

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Constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms?

Yes. 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.

Concealed Carry

North Carolina is a shall-issue state, meaning authorities are required by law to issue concealed carry permits to qualified applicants. The permits are valid for five years at an initial cost of $90 and are issued by county sheriffs.

Qualified applicants in North Carolina are persons at least 21 years of age, who have not been convicted of a felony or “violent misdemeanor,” have not been convicted of an impaired driving offense within the past three years, and who have not been dishonorably discharged from the military, in addition to the usual list of disqualifiers — such as felony convictions or certain mental illnesses.

North Carolina’s permits are honored by the following states: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

North Carolina honors permits from the states of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia.

Castle Doctrine

North Carolina has a self-defense law based on the castle doctrine. It allows the use of deadly force to prevent criminal attack and allows victims to “stand their ground,” without a duty to retreat.

The law states in part:

A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence is justified in using any degree of force that the occupant reasonably believes is necessary, including deadly force, against an intruder to prevent a forcible entry into the home or residence or to terminate the intruder’s unlawful entry (i) if the occupant reasonably apprehends that the intruder may kill or inflict serious bodily harm to the occupant or others in the home or residence, or (ii) if the occupant reasonably believes that the intruder intends to commit a felony in the home or residence.

Pro-Gun Provisions

Open carry is permissible in North Carolina. The state also has a preemption law that prevents county or municipal governments from enacting gun laws that are more restrictive than state law. North Carolina also has a law protecting gun ranges.

Restrictions

Gun bans: None.

Waiting periods for gun purchases: None.

License or permit to purchase guns: With the exception of persons with valid carry permits, a license is required for all handgun purchases. Licenses are issued to eligible applicants within 30 days of the date of application.

Registration of guns: none.

Places in North Carolina where guns cannot be carried, with or without a carry permit, include:

  • Law enforcement facilities
  • Government office buildings
  • Financial institutions
  • Schools
  • Parades
  • Funeral processions
  • Picket lines
  • Demonstrations
  • Assemblies where a fee is charged for admission
  • Establishments where alcohol is sold for on-premesis consumption
  • Private establishments with signs posted barring guns
  • Any place where gun possession is barred by federal law
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