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North Carolina Gun Control Laws

Although the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right of citizens to own and bear arms, most gun regulation happens at the state level. State laws vary widely in how they regulate firearms, often along political and ideological lines. North Carolina gun control laws prohibit fully automatic weapons and unlicensed handguns and require eligible applicants to wait thirty days before receiving a concealed handgun permit.

The following chart details the main provisions of North Carolina's gun control laws. See Details on State Gun Control Laws and the links below to learn more.

Code Section

The following sections of the North Carolina General Statutes make up the control laws in the state:

  • Article 35: Offenses Against the Public Peace;
  • Article 36: Offenses Against the Public Safety;
  • Article 52A: Sale of Weapons in Certain Counties;
  • Article 53: Sale of Weapons in Certain Other Counties;
  • Article 53A: Other Firearms;
  • Article 53B: Firearm Regulation;
  • Article 53C: Sport Shooting Range Protection Act of 1997;
  • Article 54A: The Felony Firearms Act; and
  • Article 54B: Concealed Handgun Permit.

Illegal Arms

Possession and sales of these weapons is illegal in North Carolina: machine gun, submachine gun and other like weapons, and unlicensed pistol or crossbow

Waiting Period

There is a thirty-day waiting period to get a concealed handgun carry permit. Permits are valid for five years and must be kept together with valid identification every time person carries the concealed weapon.

Who May Not Own a Firearm

The following individuals are prohibited from owning a firearm in North Carolina:

 1. Within five years of conviction or termination of sentence (whichever is later), a convicted felon cannot own a handgun or gun with a barrel less than eighteen inches or an overall length of less than twenty-six inches or any weapon of mass death and destruction;

2. Fugitive from justice;

3. Unlawful user of drugs;

4. A person deemed by a court to be incompetent on grounds of mental illness; and

5. Illegal aliens.

Law Prohibiting Firearms On or Near School Grounds

It is a felony to possess a firearm on school property or bring a forearm to a school-sponsored event (section 14-269.2(b)).

If you have been charged with a gun crime, you may want to contact a North Carolina criminal defense attorney. The Office of Indigent Services may be able to provide assistance if you cannot afford to hire a private attorney. 

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