Gun control laws in North Carolina, explained

In 2021, 1,839 people were killed by firearms in North Carolina. 

The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence gives the state a C- for its gun laws, noting that the state does not have universal background check requirements, extreme risk protection orders and minimum age restrictions.

Carry and registration laws

For individuals who legally own a firearm, open carry without a permit in North Carolina is allowed on all premises, except private property and businesses with “No Weapons” signs. 

Federal background checks are required for handgun purchases from a licensed gun dealer. Purchases from private sellers do not require a permit or federal background check. 

Individuals who possess a concealed handgun in North Carolina are required to carry a permit and valid identification, as well as inform law enforcement officers of possession when approached. 

Permits are granted for individuals who meet several basic state law requirements such as being at least 21 years old and a U.S. citizen, completing a minimum eight-hour training course and having no mental or physical disability. 

North Carolina does not have any state law requiring registration of firearms. A requirement for residents to register handguns in Durham County was repealed in 2014.

Recent permit requirement repeal

In late March, the North Carolina legislature overrode Gov. Roy Cooper’s veto of Senate Bill 41, repealing the permit requirement and background checks for handguns.

Cooper announced a follow-up policy to SB 41 in June, called the NC Secure All Firearms Effectively initiative, to respond to rising firearm injuries and thefts. The initiative provides resources for citizens on how to safely secure firearms, aiming to decrease childhood death and violence, as well as increasing the safety of homes and communities.

Prior to this decision, permits for purchasing handguns in North Carolina were obtained from the local sheriff’s office after “character evaluations and criminal history checks.” 

Effective Dec. 1, concealed carry permit holders will also be allowed to carry a handgun to religious worship places on private school property during specific times. 

Public and private institutions of higher education and several other school properties are exempt from the law. 

To buy long guns, including rifles or shotguns, only valid identification and passage of a federal background check is required. A permit is not needed.

Amy Guan | Senior Editor

Amy Guan is a Pratt senior and a senior editor of The Chronicle's 119th volume.

Andrew Bae profile
Andrew Bae | Editor-at-Large

Andrew Bae is a Trinity junior and an editor-at-large of The Chronicle's 120th volume.


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