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North Carolina Concealed Carry Laws

Last Updated: August 19, 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.  

With gun laws varying from state to state, it makes sense the rules on concealed carry for each state would also be a little different everywhere.

Even though it’s a hassle to buy a handgun in North Carolina, the state doesn’t have too many hurdles in the way for anyone wanting to get a CCW permit.

Our quick reference guide has everything you need to know to carry your handgun responsibly!

Flag of North Carolina
Flag of North Carolina

First Things First 

North Carolina, as a shall-issue state, will issue you a CCW permit as long as you meet all the requirements and provide all the documentation and fees.  What it does not do is issue permits to out of state residents.  Sorry.

Getting the Permit 

To get a CCW permit, you need to apply to your county sheriff’s office.  This has to be the county where you live, not just the sheriff’s office of any county.

To qualify for the CCW permit, you must:

  • Be 21 or older;
  • A US citizen;
  • Be a resident of North Carolina for at least 30 days before filing your application; and
  • Provide a certificate of completion of an approved safety course.

The safety course should be satisfied by any North Carolina-specific course that is taught by an NRA-certified instructor.  You’ll want to double check with them just in case, to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth!

Hold On

Even if you meet those requirements, you may still be denied a CCW permit if you fall into certain categories.

You will not be approved for a CCW permit if you:

  • Suffer from a physical or mental infirmity that prevents the safe handling of a handgun;
  • Are currently or have been adjudicated or administratively determined to be lacking mental capacity or mentally ill;
  • Have or had been adjudicated guilty or have a suspended sentence for a violent misdemeanor;
  • Have had judgement for or are free on bond or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for a criminal offense;
  • Have been convicted of an impaired driving offense in the 3 years before applying for the CCW permit; or
  • Are not eligible to own a firearm (well, yeah).

It’s an emergency!

In some situations, the sheriff will issue a temporary permit for up to 90 days if the sheriff reasonably believes the person who is applying or his family is in an emergency situation that may result in the risk of the person, his family, or property.  However, the permit cannot be renewed, and the sheriff may revoke the temporary permit without a hearing.

North Carolina CCW Permit
North Carolina CCW Permit

The Waiting Game

Once you’ve filled out the application and provided all the information needed, along with any documentation (fingerprints, filing fee, etc.), you will need to wait up to 45 days for a decision to be made.  

Since North Carolina is a shall-issue state, you will most likely just get the CCW permit in the mail.  If you left out any information or forgot to include a form, you will instead receive a denial letter telling you what is missing, and how to fix the problem.

If everything goes smoothly, you should have a CCW in your hands, and can carry it around for the next 5 years, until it’s time to renew it!

One important thing to keep in mind is that with the CCW permit, you will need to make sure you keep the permit and a photo ID on you, and be ready to inform any law enforcement officer you come across, that you are a permit holder.  

Aside from that, you might also be interested to know, the permit does not limit the number of guns you’re allowed to carry!  If you can conceal 5 guns, go for it!  

Where are you going?

Just because you have your CCW permit doesn’t mean you can take your gun anywhere!  There are some places that are off limits even to your concealed handguns.    

A CCW permit does not allow you to carry:

  • On public or private school property;
  • In any assembly area where people have been charged for admission;
  • In the State Capitol Building, Executive Mansion, Western Residence of the Governor, or the grounds of any of these buildings;
  • In any building or portion of a building used for court purposes;
  • In a law enforcement or correctional facility;
  • In a building housing only  state, federal, or government offices;
  • In any parade, funeral procession, picket line, or demonstration in a public place; or
  • Anywhere that posts a notice that carrying a concealed handgun is prohibited by the owner of the property.


Carrying Concealed
Carrying Concealed


Being able to carry concealed at home is great, but being able to carry while you’re visiting other states is pretty cool, too!  Plenty of states in the US recognize the North Carolina CCW permit, so the next time you’re on a family vacation, you might not have to leave your guns at home!

A North Carolina CCW permit is recognized in:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
  • Wisconsin
  • Wyoming

If the state isn’t on the list, your CCW permit is no good there.  You probably should pick another state to visit in that case.

North Carolina Reciprocity map
North Carolina CCW permit recognized by states in blue.

Just Visiting

If you’re just visiting North Carolina and have a CCW permit from your home state, there’s good news!  North Carolina recognizes CCW permits issued in any other state in the US!  Come on down!  

Carry on! 

That’s it!  All you need to know about getting a CCW permit from North Carolina!  Take a look at our recommendations for concealed holsters if you’re looking to put that new permit to good use, and don’t forget about CCW insurance, too!

And if you need to brush up on the laws of buying and owning all types of firearms in North Carolina, be sure to check out our North Carolina gun laws page!