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North Dakota Concealed Carry Laws

Last Updated: September 4, 2017

Disclaimer:  While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and is for educational and entertainment purposes only.  

While carrying concealed in North Dakota no longer requires a permit, there are still reasons for getting one, including being able to bring your gun with you when you go out of state.

There are a couple of things you’ll need to watch out for when applying for a license, including which type to apply for!

This guide will go over everything you need to know on how to get a license, and what you can do with it once you get one.

North Dakota State Flag
North Dakota State Flag

First Things First

Since North Dakota already allows for permitless concealed carry, it makes sense that it would be a shall-issue state, and will issue a concealed weapons license (CWL) as long as you meet the requirements and submit all the required information.  

Those from out of state also will be happy to know that the state does issue non-resident CWLs.  The catch is that the testing requirements that are part of the application process cannot be waived, and must be done in North Dakota.  Unless you are already going to be stopping by the state, you are better off applying for a non-resident CCW permit from Arizona, Florida, or Utah.

So what do I need to do? 

To qualify for a North Dakota CWL, you actually need to first decide which version of the CWL you want before applying with your local sheriff’s office.  

To qualify for a Class 2 license, you must:

  • Be a US citizen or legal permanent resident alien;
  • Be legally allowed to own a firearm (well, yeah);
  • Be 18 or older;
  • Be a resident of North Dakota for at least a year; and
  • Provide proof of completion of the training requirements.

To qualify for a Class 1 license, all the same requirements apply, but you must be 21 or older instead.

And for those of you who aren’t residents of North Dakota, you would still qualify if you are full-time active duty stationed in the state, or are a resident of a state that has reciprocity with North Dakota and have a valid CCW permit from your home state.

So which version should you choose?

As long as you are 21 or older, you should apply for the Class 1 license.  It has more requirements for the testing portion, but many states will not recognize a Class 2 license from North Dakota when it comes to reciprocity.

What about the testing requirements? 

Once you decide which type of license you want to get, you’ll need to take the test for the correct license you are applying for.   

Both Class 2 and Class 1 licenses include an open book test from a manual on the weapons safety rules and deadly force laws of North Dakota.  You’ll also have to show proficiency in a course of fire.

The course of fire in the testing includes demonstrating competency in:

  • The loading and unloading of a firearm;
  • Use of safety devices;
  • Basic firearm functioning; and
  • Minimal accuracy.

If you decided to apply for a Class 1 license, you’ll also have to:

  • Complete classroom instruction;
  • Demonstrate familiarity with your firearm; and
  • Successfully complete a firearms proficiency (live fire) test.

There really is no reason to apply for the Class 2 license if you qualify for the Class 1 license.  In fact, the only people who should be applying for Class 2 licenses are those of you who are older than 18 but younger than 21.  Even then, you’ll have to upgrade the license later and go through the same process all over again, with the additional testing requirements.

North Dakota CWL
North Dakota CWL

Time for an Upgrade

If you absolutely must have a CWL and only qualify for a Class 2, that’s perfectly understandable.  Just keep in mind, when you qualify for a Class 1 CWL 3 years later when you turn 21, you’ll need to go through the entire application process again, and also go through the same testing that is required for getting a Class 1 CWL.

If you decide to renew your Class 2 CWL, then no additional testing is required, with the only downside being that you still have a Class 2 CWL instead of a Class 1.   

The Waiting Game

Once you’ve figured out which class of CWL to apply for, gone through the testing, and completed the application, you’ll need to wait about 60 days to get a decision on your CWL.  Since North Dakota is a shall-issue state, as long as you did everything correctly, you’ll have a shiny new CWL in the mail at the end of 2 months.

If you get a denial letter in the mail instead, then the letter will state why you were denied, and how you can fix the mistake.  

Either way, when you eventually get that CWL, you’ll want to keep it, along with your driver’s license, on you at all times to present to law enforcement officers when asked.  Aside from that, just remember to renew it every 5 years!

Where do you think you’re going?

Even with your CWL, you still aren’t allowed to carry your handgun into some places.  For those of you who already checked out our North Dakota gun laws section, you’ll remember that even with permitless carry, some places are still off limits.

Carrying is prohibited at:

  • Liquor establishments;
  • Gaming sites (i.e. casinos);
  • Athletic or sporting events;
  • Schools or school functions;
  • Church or church functions;
  • Political rallies or functions;
  • Music concerts; and
  • Publicly owned parks where hunting is not allowed, or publicly owned or operated buildings, not including federal or state parks or buildings.

If you need to go to any of these places, you should leave your gun in the car, preferably in a car safe hidden out of sight, so that your gun will be waiting for you when you get back.

Safe in trunk of car
Lock up that gun when you can’t bring it with you!


The entire reason for getting a CWL in the first place! For those of you who qualify, here is where you can see that a Class 1 permit makes a lot more sense than a Class 2 CWL.

A Class 1 CWL is recognized in:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Viriginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming
North Dakota Reciprocity Map
States in Blue Recognize the North Dakota CWL.

Pretty big list right?  A Class 2 CWL is recognized by those same states, except:

  • Arizona
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

That’s a pretty decent drop in the number of states.  The moral of the story is that if you are 21 or older, get that Class 1 CWL!  Getting the Class 2 will cost you the same amount of money, and when you upgrade from Class 2 to Class 1 you’ll have to pay the same fees all over again!

Just Passing Through

For those of you who aren’t from North Dakota but want to stop by for a visit, as long as you are 21 or older and  have a valid CCW permit from your state, if your state is listed on the Class 1 list above, North Dakota will recognize your permit and let you carry concealed just like you would back home!  

If you are under 21, however, then you will need to check the Class 2 list, and if your state is on there, North Dakota will recognize your CCW permit.  If your state is on the Class 1 list but not the one for Class 2, North Dakota won’t recognize your CCW permit if you are under 21, so you are stuck with the Class 2 list and have to sit at the kiddie table.  Sorry.

Carry On!

And that’s everything you need to know about getting a CWL in North Dakota!  Be sure to take a look at our recommendations for concealed carry holsters if you’re still looking for that perfect fit, and of course, remember to buy CCW insurance!

For anyone looking to brush up on the general gun laws of the state, hop on over to our North Dakota gun laws section and we’ll give you a quick rundown of everything you need to know!

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