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North Carolina Gun Laws: Open Carry and Concealed Firearm Permits

North Carolina allows the use of firearms within its state territory. However, like other jurisdictions in the USA, the state has specific statutes to regulate and restrict the use of firearms. In this article, we will explore North Carolina’s gun laws, covering open carry, concealed firearm permits, prohibited areas, age requirements, and more.


North Carolina is one of the states in the USA that allows the use of firearms, both for open carry and concealed carry. However, certain regulations and restrictions are in place to ensure the responsible use of firearms and maintain public safety.

North Carolina Gun Laws Summary

In North Carolina, concealed firearm permits are issued for the possession of handguns and pistols. The application for these permits is handled by the local sheriff in each county, and the state operates as a “shall-issue” state, meaning that if an applicant meets the requirements, the permit must be issued.

Additionally, a purchase permit is required to buy firearms in North Carolina. This permit certifies that the applicant has undergone a statutory criminal record background check. It is important to note that North Carolina permits are only available to residents of the state and military personnel stationed there.

To be eligible for a concealed carry permit in North Carolina, an individual must be at least twenty-one years old.

Open Carry in North Carolina

Open carry is legal in North Carolina, and individuals who are eighteen years or older, without any felonies or federal/state restrictions on firearm possession, can open carry firearms without a permit. North Carolina is a permissive open-carry state, meaning that a permit is not required for open-carry.

However, there are restrictions on places where open carry is prohibited, including schools, law enforcement offices, prisons, state and federal buildings, private buildings with no firearms allowed signage, public recreational areas, bars, and certain prohibited places designated by federal or state laws.

Quick View of North Carolina Open Carry Laws

Law/PolicyLong GunsHandgunsComments
State permit for open carryNoNoYou do not need a permit to open carry firearms in North Carolina.
Firearm registrations for open carryNoNoThere are no firearms registrations for open carry in North Carolina.
Assault weapon for open carryNoNoNorth Carolina prohibits the manufacturing and possession of machine guns, semi-automatic firearms, and any other firearm that is convertible to such.
Magazine limitNoNoThere are no firearm magazine limits in North Carolina, and the state does not ban the possession of large-capacity firearms.
License for the owner of a firearmNot requiredNot requiredNorth Carolina does not issue any permit for firearm owners in the state.
Red flag lawNoNoNorth Carolina does not have red flag laws or issue an extreme risk protection order.
Castle doctrine lawYesYesNorth Carolina does not issue any permits for firearm owners in the state.
Background check for private dealersYesYesThe criminal record background check is compulsory for all dealers in the state.
PreemptionYesYesIn North Carolina, state law supersedes local counties or municipalities. However, local governments can restrict or prohibit firearms in places such as parks, playgrounds, recreational areas, etc.
Concealed carry permitYesYesTo conceal a firearm in North Carolina, you need a concealed firearm permit.
Concealed carry in personal vehicleYesYesYou can conceal carry in a private vehicle as long as you keep the firearm out of sight, and you have your permit.
Open carry in schoolsNoNoNorth Carolina prohibits the open carry of firearms in schools, colleges, universities, other educational institutions, and their facilities.

Where Is It Legal To Open Carry in North Carolina?

You can legally open carry your firearms in the following areas of North Carolina:

  1. Restaurants and bars: Open carry is allowed in restaurant areas unless there is a post prohibiting such or if you are under the influence of alcohol.
  2. Personal vehicle: You can open carry in your private car, but the firearm must be visible.
  3. Roadsides: Open carry is allowed in roadside areas if permitted by the county you are in.
  4. Parks and forests: You can open carry in parks, forests, and wildlife management areas of the state.
  5. Places of worship: You can open carry in places of worship as long as there is no post prohibiting the possession of firearms on the premises.
See also  North Carolina Concealed Carry Weapon

Where Is It Illegal To Open Carry in North Carolina?

Open carry of firearms in North Carolina is illegal in the following areas:

  1. Schools: You cannot open carry in schools, either privately or publicly owned, colleges, universities, and any of their facilities.
  2. Law enforcement offices: You are not allowed to open carry in law enforcement offices or any building they use for their operations.
  3. Prisons: You cannot open carry firearms in state prisons, jails, or any other detention facility.
  4. State and federal buildings: You cannot open carry in any building owned by the state or federal government.
  5. Private buildings and property: You cannot open carry in any state private building that has signage prohibiting the possession of firearms on the premises.
  6. Public recreational areas: You cannot open carry in any field, pool, or playground in North Carolina that has signage prohibiting firearms.
  7. Bars: You cannot open carry-in bars or any place licensed for the consumption of alcohol, except if the owner of the place prohibits such.
  8. Prohibited places: You cannot open carry in any place prohibited by federal or state laws.

Relevant Open Carry Law And Legislature In North Carolina

Some of the relevant North Carolina gun statutes concerning open carry include:

  1. Ammunition Restriction: North Carolina prohibits the use, production, purchase, and sale of Teflon-coated ammunition in the state.
  2. No Weapon Sign: The state enforces the no weapon sign, meaning that no one should open carry or possess a firearm on any private building or property that prohibits firearms with signage displaying the information. Violation of this law is a class two misdemeanor.
  3. Preemption Law: North Carolina preempts all local laws in the state, giving the state government all authority to regulate firearms. However, counties and municipalities can restrict firearms in public places like fairgrounds and public pools.
  4. Brandishing Of Firearms: It is a crime in North Carolina to point your firearm at another person, either jokingly or seriously, regardless of whether the firearm is loaded or not. The exception is during the lawful use of a firearm or while carrying out self-defense rights.
  5. Open Carry While Under The Influence: You cannot open carry while drinking alcohol or while still under the influence of alcohol or any other controlled substance. This law does not include controlled substances lawfully obtained or used for medical or therapeutic reasons.
  6. Open Carry While Hunting: You can open carry during hunting activities in North Carolina, including state government land or any other privately owned lands, as long as you have the license to hunt there. However, it is unlawful to use a firearm for game-taking during bow hunting or any other hunting session that does not permit the use of firearms.
  7. Hunter Harassment Laws: North Carolina has hunter harassment laws, making it illegal to interfere with or disturb any lawful hunting activity in wildlife by deliberately impeding any wildlife resources or tampering with any property or hunting dogs used for licensed hunting activities.
See also  North Carolina Hunting


North Carolina’s gun laws allow both open carry and concealed carry of firearms within the state. While open carry is generally permitted without a permit, certain restrictions and prohibited areas must be observed.

Additionally, obtaining a concealed firearm permit and understanding gun regulations are necessary for concealed carry. It is important to ensure responsible firearm ownership and use in North Carolina.


Q1: Do I Need A Firearm Permit To Open Carry In North Carolina?

No, you do not need a firearm permit to open carry in the state.

Q2: Must I Apply For A Concealed Carry Permit Before I Conceal Firearms In North Carolina?

Yes, to conceal carry in North Carolina, you must obtain the state’s concealed firearm permit.

Q3: What Is The Age Requirement For Open Carry In North Carolina?

You must be eighteen years old or older to open carry in North Carolina.

Q4: At What Age Can I Conceal Carry In North Carolina?

The age for concealed carry of firearms in North Carolina is twenty-one years old.

Q5: At What Age Can I Apply For North Carolina Concealed Firearm Permit?

You must be at least twenty-one years old to apply for the state’s firearm permit.

Q6: Is North Carolina A Red Flag State?

No, the state gun laws do not talk about extreme risk protection orders or any red flag petition.

Q7: Is North Carolina Concealed Firearm Permit Available For Non-residents Of The State?

No, the permit is only valid for residents of the state and members of the military posted for duties in the state. However, non-residents can make use of firearm permits from other states since North Carolina reciprocates other states in the USA.

See also  North Carolina Gun Permit

Q8: Is North Carolina A Constitutional Carry State?

No, North Carolina is not a constitutional carry state.

Q9: Does North Carolina Accept The Open Carry Of Knives In The State?

No, you cannot open carry knives or any other type of weapon in North Carolina, as long as your intention is not to commit a crime with it or cause apprehension. However, you cannot open carry knives in school premises, courthouses, or any federally or state-owned building.

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