North Carolina Gun Laws and Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map

Everything you need to know about owning a firearm in the state of North Carolina

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North Carolina Reciprocity Map

Last Updated: 2021

North Carolina Concealed Carry Reciprocity Overview



















Being fully aware of your gun rights and state laws is the first step toward responsible firearm ownership. The next is understanding how those gun laws translate across state lines.

North Carolina is one of America’s most populated states. It’s home to 10.6 million people, with 7.7% of the population being licensed to concealed carry (CC). The minimum age to do so is 21, and the license is valid for five years.

If you are interested in obtaining your North Carolina concealed carry permit, you need an education partner you can trust. Concealed Coalition has trained over a million U.S. citizens to carry their weapons safely and effectively. Contact us to find online or local training to get your NC concealed carry license.

Summary of North Carolina Gun Laws

Your North Carolina Gun Rights

Each state has its own take on gun laws, and that can make it difficult to know those for your home area. NC concealed carry reciprocity agreements apply in 37 states, for example, while acknowledging some state-specific exceptions (See the NC CCW reciprocity map above for additional information).

The “shall-issue” status of North Carolina means any individual of the proper age, of good moral character, and who meets the legal requirements may own a handgun. A North Carolina concealed carry license is available from the applicant’s home county sheriff following a successful background check, but only residents may purchase handguns. A CC permit or a pistol purchase permit and a background check are necessary to buy a firearm from a dealer or private individual.

Here is a summary of existing laws:

Open Carry in North Carolina

This is legal in the state without a permit, provided the individual is at least 18 years old. Each county may have specific locations where open carry is not allowed, and certain places are off-limits, such as schools, correctional facilities, and courthouses.

Concealed Carry in North Carolina

Residents with a concealed handgun permit may CC, and North Carolina automatically recognizes CC permits issued by another state. The state grants CC permits after individuals complete a state-approved firearms training and competency course.

Self Defense Laws in North Carolina

A CC license is a powerful way to protect yourself and others. It’s crucial to know where the line is when it comes to self-defense under the law to avoid excessive action.

Use of Force

North Carolinians have no duty to retreat if they are somewhere they are legally permitted to be and are not the aggressor. Use of force is allowed in self-defense or defense of others if under the reasonable belief that it will prevent an aggressor’s imminent use of unlawful force.

Use of Deadly Force

This is permitted in a home, vehicle, or workplace, provided the individual feels it necessary to prevent imminent death or great bodily harm to themselves or others. 

Protecting Yourself After Use of Force

Permissible use of deadly force renders the individual immune from civil or criminal liability, assuming the target was not a law enforcement officer or bail bondsman.

Firearms training is an excellent way to gain the skills necessary to gauge any potential threat levels responsibly. Concealed Coalition has licensed trainers who can make you a responsible, certified gun owner. Classes are available locally and online.

North Carolina Guns Laws by Statute

Concealed Coalition is dedicated to dispelling the myths surrounding gun ownership and promoting a culture of understanding, responsibility, and confidence. Our certified instructors are qualified across multiple states, and our online or local training classes provide convenient learning environments run by instructors who care.

Contact us today at (919) 276-5259 or email to discuss your concealed carry permit educational needs. For additional information, check out our North Carolina reciprocity map above or read up on the NC concealed carry regulations below.

Quick Links

Concealed Carry North Carolina State Instructor




Does North Carolina recognize constitutional carry?


Is open carry permitted in North Carolina?

North Carolina is a permissive open carry state in the USA. Therefore, you do not need a permit to open carry in the state. There are also restrictions for places where the state prohibits open carry and the general possession of firearms. Continue reading to learn where you can carry your concealed firearm in North Carolina.

If North Carolina requires a license to carry a concealed firearm, how are those licenses issued?

North Carolina is a shall-issue state with concealed handgun permits issued at the county level by the local sheriff’s office.

What is the minimum age in North Carolina to get a concealed carry license?

You must be 21 to apply for a concealed carry permit in North Carolina.

Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in North Carolina with a concealed carry license (or under permit-less carry if applicable)?

No, a North Carolina concealed handgun permit (CHP) does not allow the concealed carry of non-handgun weapons.

Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in North Carolina?

Anyone in North Carolina can buy and carry a stun gun without a permit for use in legal self-defense. 

Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in North Carolina?

Yes, you can buy and carry pepper spray in North Carolina for use in legal self-defense. You cannot carry containers of pepper spray exceeding 5 ounces.

Does North Carolina have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?


Does North Carolina have ammunition restrictions?

The sale or possession of Teflon-coated bullets is prohibited under North Carolina General Stature 14-401.6.




Where can't I carry a concealed firearm in North Carolina?

Yes. North Carolina CCW laws prohibit carrying a concealed weapon in several places, including:

  • All areas prohibited under federal law
  • In any location, including restaurants, where alcohol is sold or consumed, and a sign is posted prohibiting firearms
  • Any business premises with a sign forbidding CC
  • In schools or on school grounds
  • In correctional or law enforcement facilities
  • In areas of demonstrations or assemblies
  • Spaces occupied by federal or state employees, including courthouses
  • State park offices and visitor centers

It is always prudent to ask ahead of time before entering premises where you are unsure of state, federal, or private ownership rules. This proactive approach will help avoid unpleasant situations for you and those around you.

Where can I carry a concealed firearm in North Carolina?

Licensed individuals may CC in any location that does not meet the criteria above, provided they adhere to local, county, and site-specific regulations and rules of conduct governing firearms.

Can you carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in North Carolina?

It is unlawful to carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle, meaning a handgun cannot be seen by a person approaching and is readily available, without a valid concealed carry permit. 

Can you carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in North Carolina?

Yes, anyone with a concealed carry permit may carry at roadside rest areas in North Carolina​.

Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forest 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.

Can you carry a concealed firearm in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in North Carolina?

This is only legal provided the establishment has not clearly indicated that they do not wish firearms on the premises. Even if CC is permitted, it is essential that you have not entered that establishment with alcohol in your system and that you do not consume any alcohol while on the premises.

Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in North Carolina?

Some premises allow CC weapons to be checked in and stored, while others do not allow firearms. A business or private property owner may prohibit CC on their premises by providing clear notice, usually in the form of a sign. Check with each hotel to be certain of their policy before entering their premises.

Does North Carolina have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?

Legislators or legislative employees (item c1) and correctional officers or detention personnel (item 4c) are the only employees permitted to store firearms in vehicles parked in employee lots. The gun must be in a locked container securely attached to the vehicle or in a closed compartment within a locked vehicle.




Do you have a duty to notify a police officer that you're carrying a concealed firearm in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Department of Justice advises CC permit holders not to attempt to display their permit or their weapon without being so directed by an officer. It is initially sufficient to disclose that you have a valid CC permit and a concealed firearm if you are addressed or approached by a law enforcement officer.

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. CC on any private premises is not allowed, even when in possession of a license, where the owner has clearly indicated that it’s prohibited.

Does North Carolina have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e., Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?


Does North Carolina have a red flag law?


Does North Carolina state law define brandishing?

Any gesture intended to or likely to provoke violent retaliation is considered a breach of the peace, and this would include any gestures involving a firearm. This could result in a charge of disorderly conduct, which, depending on the location and any prior instances, can be a Class 1 misdemeanor, a Class I felony, or a Class H felony. Pointing a loaded or unloaded gun at someone for any reason is a Class A1 misdemeanor.

Does North Carolina have laws regarding carrying a concealed firearm while using alcohol or chemical substances?

No one may CC while consuming or under the influence of alcohol or any other controlled substance. Only substances obtained legally and being taken as directed by a physician are considered permissible.

Does North Carolina issue concealed carry licenses to non-residents?

The state only issues these permits to military personnel with a permanent North Carolina posting. North Carolina does automatically recognize CC licenses issued by any other state, however.

Does North Carolina allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?

Only law enforcement can access this data in North Carolina.




Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in North Carolina?

For handguns, a Pistol Purchase Permit (issued by the sheriff in the county of one’s residence) or a North Carolina-issued Concealed Handgun Permit is required. Presenting either of these exempts the buyer from the on-the-spot NICS background check.

Are background checks required for private gun sales in North Carolina?

Private sellers are not required to conduct background checks when transferring a long gun in North Carolina, although federal and state laws prohibiting certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms still apply.

Does my current North Carolina concealed carry license exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase firearm? 

Federal law does not require dealers to conduct a background check if a firearm purchaser presents a state permit to purchase or possess firearms that meets certain conditions. As a result, holders of permits to purchase handguns and concealed weapons permits in North Carolina are exempt from the federal background check requirement

Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in North Carolina?

North Carolina state law does not require a waiting period to purchase a gun. But it does require a purchaser to obtain a permit to purchase a gun.

Do handguns need to be registered in North Carolina?

There is no NC state law that requires you to register your firearms, or notify any public official.

What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in North Carolina?

The minimum age to open carry or transport a handgun in North Carolina is 18 years old. 

Can I possess/carry a handgun in my home in North Carolina without a license? 

Yes. A concealed carry permit is not required for anyone legally entitled to carry a firearm to carry a handgun on the person’s own premises. 


North Carolina Requirements

An applicant must:

  • Must apply in person.
  • Must be able to properly complete application process.
  • Must be 21 years of age or older.
  • Must provide current/valid identification in the form of either a N.C. Drivers License or N.C. Identification card.
  • Must provide proof of U.S. Citizenship or legal residency.
  • Must be a resident of North Carolina for a minimum of 30 days and provide proof of being a Forsyth County resident. (Such as a NC ID or Driver’s License with a Forsyth County address)
  • Must provide a list of previous addresses within for past 20 years or until the age of 16.
  • Your current address must be listed first.
  • Must have successfully completed an approved N. C. Concealed Handgun Training Course and provide the original certificate with application.
  • Sworn Law Enforcement Officers and Armed Security personnel may exempt the CHP class requirement by bringing in a copy of their most recent qualification scores signed by either their range officer or direct supervisor.
  • Must authorize Mental Health background check.
  • Must pass criminal history background check.
  • Must provide complete set of legible fingerprints (taken at time of application).
  • Must be eligible to own, possess or receive a firearm under the provisions of State or Federal Law. See N.C. Firearm Laws.


Fees vary by county, however, in most places the initial permit fee is $90. Concealed carry permit renewal fees also vary by county, but typically cost $75.

Valid For:

5 years.

Processing Time:

There is a 45-day processing time.

Non-Resident Concealed Carry License:

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.

Name & Address Changes:

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.

Lost or Stolen CC License:

You will need to check with your local sheriff’s office as the requirements may vary. There is a $15 duplicate permit fee.

Residency Changes:

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.

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.


Step One:

Complete a firearms training course with a state certified instructor.

Step Two:

Download the state application. Some counties have online applications.

Step Three:

Take the application to your local sheriff’s office and complete it under oath. You will need the following documents:

  • The original certificate of completion from a firearms course;
  • NC driver’s license or ID card and proof of residence;
  • Military personnel must bring forms 1380E (active duty) or DD-214 (discharged);
  • Naturalized citizens must bring your Naturalization Certificate or a valid U.S. Passport;
  • U.S. citizens born outside of the U.S.A. to U.S. parent(s) must bring your documentation from the Department of State; and
  • Lawful permanent resident aliens must bring a valid U.S. Permanent Resident Card.

The sheriff will take 2 sets of fingerprints.
Sign a release authorizing disclosure to the sheriff of any records relating to your mental health.

Step Four:

You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.


Renewal Overview

It’s best to contact your local sheriff’s office for exact details on how to renew your CC license, because the particulars vary from county to county. Here are two examples to illustrate process diversity based on location: Wake County will not accept renewal applications unless your current license is within 60 days of expiration, while Forsyth County will accept renewal applications no more than 90 days before expiration.

Wake County requires a pre-booked appointment (and even then, only for those CC permits expiring within 45 days), but Forsyth does not. Wake County renewals cost $75, while Forsyth renewals cost $80. It is important to note, whatever your location, that you may be required to retake firearm qualification courses and submit new biometrics if you have allowed your license to expire.

Online Renewal

Download and submit your completed application to your local sheriff’s office along with the following:

  • A notarized affidavit stating that you remain qualified;
  • A newly administered set of fingerprints, if they are not already on file with the State Bureau of Investigation; and
  • The renewal fee ($75 in most counties).

If you are RENEWING a Concealed Handgun Permit, you MUST apply PRIOR to your expiration date, but no more than 45 days prior to the expiration date.

Concealed Carry for Law Enforcement Officers and Retired LEOs

The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) permits active and retired law enforcement officers (LEOs) to CC anywhere in the United States or its territories regardless of local or state laws. Here are a few facts to keep in mind:

  • Some exceptions do apply in the form of government and private property where the owners prohibit firearms.
  • Retired law enforcement officers (RLEOs) must receive firearm qualification training from an instructor certified by the Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission. 
  • This Specialized Instructor Certification in Firearms allows the instructor to bring RLEOs up to the state standards required to achieve their CC permit.

RLEOs can achieve this by qualifying through training provided by the agency they served before retiring. This agency will provide all necessary documentation to the RLEO that verifies they met state standards in proficiency. RLEOs may also undertake training from a Specialized Instructor before submitting an application to the Criminal Justice Standards Commission.

Firearms Training & Competency

The certified instructors at Concealed Coalition will teach you the applicable laws for your state and how to carry and fire a firearm safely. Training is available across the U.S. and online, so contact us with any questions or to sign up.

Proper firearms training is essential for any individual with the right to carry a gun, especially those who do not receive training as part of their employment. North Carolina citizens can get the following types:

A Firearms Training Course With a State-Certified Instructor

Concealed Coalition offers firearm training to help you gain a CC license. Our highly specialized instructors provide actionable lessons based on their extensive practical experience to ensure you gain tested and reliable skills.

NRA Training

The National Rifle Association offers several types of training at numerous locations. Use its local training locator to find classes and specific lessons by selecting any course and entering your state at the bottom of the page.

Documents from Participation in an Organized Shooting Competition

Individuals presenting evidence of sufficient experience with a firearm through participation in an organized shooting competition may consider this acceptable training to acquire a CC license.

Hunter Safety Courses

The North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission provides licensing for any first-time hunters or anyone under 16 planning to hunt without an adult. Courses are available online with unlimited repeat attempts. Instructors also teach these free classes year-round.

DD Form 214 or Military Orders for Active or Former Military Members

A service member gets the military document DD 214 after performing active duty or completing at least 90 consecutive days of active-duty training. Only a dishonorable discharge or a dismissal will prevent a former military member from receiving a CC or pistol purchase permit. A military permittee whose permit has expired during deployment may carry a concealed handgun during the 90 days following the end of deployment and before the permit is renewed, provided the permittee also displays proof of deployment to any law enforcement officer. The DD 214 is available via the NC DMVA.

Firearms Safety Courses From Other Providers

Public and private institutions, colleges, or law enforcement agencies often provide firearm training. The NRA or the North Carolina Justice Academy will certify these instructors.

Get Certified for a North Carolina Concealed Carry Permit Today

Concealed Coalition is dedicated to providing superior CC training while dispelling the myths surrounding gun ownership and promoting a culture of understanding, responsibility, and confidence. Our certified instructors are qualified across multiple states, and they provide excellent learning environments for our online or local training classes.

Contact us today at 800-805-2238 to discuss North Carolina concealed carry permit training.

North Carolina Concealed Carry Classes

Did we miss something?

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 promptly. Your feedback matters to us, and we greatly appreciate you helping us make this page the best possible resource for responsible gun owners! The information contained on this website is provided by Concealed Coalition as a service to its members and the public. The information on this page does not constitute legal advice. Our goal is to provide thorough, up-to-date information regarding concealed carry laws, reciprocity, and requirements. We make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. At the time of publishing the information contained in this page was correct and up-to-date. However, laws are constantly changing, and as a result, nothing contained on this website should be considered legal advice. Please consult a lawyer should you require legal advice regarding concealed carry and gun laws in your state. Did you know our membership includes a pre-paid legal protection plan? Sign up today and gain access to 24/7 coverage from a team of legal experts.

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