North Carolina provides two types of gun licenses: one permit is required to purchase a gun and a second permit is required if you want to carry your gun as a concealed weapon. The requirements for both types of permits are virtually identical and are valid for five years and are renewable.
Gun Purchases Require a Permit
Before you can purchase a handgun in North Carolina, you must first obtain a permit. To apply for a purchase permit, you must be at least age 21 and a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You must also be a resident of your North Carolina county for at least 30 days and apply for the permit at the sheriff's office in the county where you live.
Application, Fee and Background Check
You can apply for your permit in person or online. If you apply online, you will be asked to show identification when your permit is approved and ready for pick up at the sheriff's office. Otherwise, you must present your ID at the same time you submit your application in person at your county sheriff's office. If you're a military veteran, you can provide a copy of your DD-214 discharge papers. You must pay an application fee, which can vary by county, and undergo a criminal background check to confirm you are eligible to purchase and possess a gun. Persons who cannot obtain permits include those convicted of a felony or domestic violence, those dishonorably discharged from the military, those with a history of substance abuse and those ruled incompetent due to mental illness. If approved, you will be issued a purchase permit valid for five years. If denied a permit, you will be informed of the reason and have the right to appeal.
Permit to Conceal a Gun
If you want to conceal your handgun after purchase, you must apply for a separate concealed carry permit. The requirements are generally the same as those for a purchase permit, including being at least age 21, a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, a county resident for at least 30 days, and not the member of an excluded group as confirmed by a background check. If you're currently enlisted in the military, you are not required to meet the residency requirements. You must also complete an approved firearms training course. The concealed permit fee is valid for five years. If denied, you can appeal the decision.
Out-of-State Concealed Carry Permits Honored
If you were granted a concealed carry permit in another state, North Carolina will honor that permit under its reciprocity program. However, you still must comply with state laws governing concealed handguns. For example, state law prohibits you from carrying a concealed gun in correctional facilities, in or around schools, where alcohol is sold and consumed, and inside any business that displays signs banning concealed weapons on the property.
- Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Office: Gun Permits
- Wake County Government: Pistol Purchase Permits
- Wake County Government: Concealed Handgun Permits
- Durham County: Concealed Carry Permits - Frequently Asked Questions
- North Carolina Department of Justice: Concealed Handguns Reciprocity
- Rowan County: Online Handgun Permits
- Onslow County Sheriff's Office: Handgun Purchase Permits
- koi88/iStock/Getty Images