Ammunition Regulation in North Carolina

North Carolina prohibits any person from importing, manufacturing, possessing, storing, transporting, selling, offering to sell, purchasing, offering to purchase, delivering, giving or acquiring any teflon-coated bullet.1 This prohibition does not apply to the following individuals:

  • Licensed importers, manufacturers, and dealers for the purpose of sale to authorized law-enforcement agencies; or
  • Inventors, designers, ordinance consultants and researchers, chemists, physicists, and other persons employed by or under contract with a manufacturing company engaged in making or doing research designed to enlarge knowledge or to facilitate the creation, development, or manufacture of more effective police-type body armor.2

North Carolina does not:

  • Require a license for the sale of ammunition;
  • Require sellers of ammunition to maintain a record of the purchasers;
  • Require a license to purchase or possess ammunition; or
  • Prohibit the possession, transfer or use of armor-piercing, although the federal prohibition on certain kinds of armor-piercing ammunition applies.

See our Ammunition Regulation policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-34.3(a). ⤴︎
  2. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-34.3(b). ⤴︎

Background Checks in North Carolina

Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state “point of contact” and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”) database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)

North Carolina is a partial point of contact state for NICS. In North Carolina, firearms dealers must contact the FBI to process the background check required by federal law if the firearm being transferred is a long gun. If the firearm being transferred is a handgun, the seller (regardless of whether or not he or she is a firearms dealer) must verify that the purchaser holds either a permit to purchase a handgun or a concealed weapons permit.1  Both of these permits are issued by the local sheriff after a background check.2  For further information about the background checks involved in issuing these permits, see the North Carolina Licensing of Gun Purchasers or Owners and North Carolina Concealed Weapons Permitting sections.

Federal law does not require dealers to conduct a background check if a firearm purchaser presents a state permit to purchase or possess firearms that meets certain conditions.3 As a result, holders of permits to purchase handguns and concealed weapons permits in North Carolina are exempt from the federal background check requirement.4 (Note, however, that people who have become prohibited from possessing firearms may continue to hold state permits to purchase or permit firearms – and pass background checks – if the state fails to remove these permits in a timely fashion.)

Private sellers (sellers who are not licensed dealers) are not required to conduct background checks when transferring a long gun in North Carolina, although federal and state laws prohibiting certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms still apply. See the North Carolina Private Sales section.

See our Background Checks policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

 

Notes
  1. Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Instant Criminal Background Check System Participation Map, at http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/general-information/participation-map (last visited Jun. 2, 2015). ⤴︎
  2. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-404. ⤴︎
  3. Federal law exempts persons who have been issued state permits to purchase or possess firearms from background checks if those permits were issued: 1) within the previous five years in the state in which the transfer is to take place; and 2) after an authorized government official has conducted a background investigation, including a search of the NICS database, to verify that possession of a firearm would not be unlawful. 18 U.S.C. § 922(t)(3), 27 C.F.R. § 478.102(d). ⤴︎
  4. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, U.S. Dept. of Justice, Brady Law: Permanent Brady Permit Chart (Jun. 2, 2015), at https://www.atf.gov/content/firearms/firearms-industry/permanent-brady-permit-chart. ⤴︎

Child Access Prevention in North Carolina

School Property

Pursuant to North Carolina law, a parent or legal guardian who has care, custody and control of an unemancipated minor may be held civilly liable to an educational entity for negligent supervision of the minor if the minor commits certain enumerated crimes or any felony involving injury to persons or property through use of a firearm on educational property.1 The parent or legal guardian will only be liable if he or she:

  • Knew or should have known of the minor’s likelihood to commit the act;
  • Had the opportunity and ability to control the minor; and
  • Made no reasonable effort to correct, restrain or properly supervise the minor.2

Storage

Pursuant to state law, any person who resides with a minor and owns or possesses a firearm stored or left: 1) in a condition in which it can be discharged; and 2) in a manner that the person knew or should have known that an unsupervised minor would be able to gain access to the firearm, is criminally liable for a misdemeanor if the minor gains access to the firearm and:

  • Possesses the firearm on educational property;
  • Exhibits the firearm in a public place in a careless, angry or threatening manner;
  • Causes personal injury or death with the firearm, except in self-defense; or
  • Uses the firearm in the commission of a crime.3

Under state law, a retail seller or transferor must deliver a written copy of state law relating to storage of firearms to protect minors to the purchaser or transferee with every firearm transfer.4 A retail or wholesale store or outlet that sells firearms must conspicuously post at each purchase counter the following warning:

“IT IS UNLAWFUL TO STORE OR LEAVE A FIREARM THAT CAN BE DISCHARGED IN A MANNER THAT A REASONABLE PERSON SHOULD KNOW IS ACCESSIBLE TO A MINOR.”5

Use of Firearm/Furnishing Firearm

It is a misdemeanor in North Carolina for any person to knowingly permit a child under age 12 to have access to, or possession, custody or use in any manner of any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, unless the person has the permission of the child’s parent or guardian, and the child is under the supervision of an adult.6

For age requirements for the purchase or possession of firearms in North Carolina, see the North Carolina Minimum Age to Purchase / Possess section.

See our Child Access Prevention policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 1-538.3. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 48A-2 defines a “minor” as a person under the age of 18. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-315.1. ⤴︎
  4. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-315.2; see also N.C. Gen. Stat.14-315.1. ⤴︎
  5. Id. ⤴︎
  6. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-316(a). ⤴︎

Concealed Weapons Permitting in North Carolina

See our Carrying Concealed Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

North Carolina is a “shall issue” state, meaning that the local sheriff must issue a concealed handgun permit if the applicant meets certain qualifications. Pursuant to state law, a sheriff must issue a permit to an applicant who:

  • Is a citizen of the United States or has been lawfully admitted for permanent residence as defined in 8 U.S.C. § 1101(a)(20) and has been a resident of the state 30 days or longer immediately preceding the filing of the application;
  • Is 21 years of age or older;
  • Does not suffer from a physical or mental infirmity that prevents the safe handling of a handgun; and
  • Has successfully completed an approved firearms safety and training course which involves the actual firing of handguns and instruction in the state laws governing the carrying of a concealed handgun and the use of deadly force.1

State law requires a sheriff to deny a permit to an applicant who:

  • Is ineligible to own, possess, or receive a firearm under state or federal law;
  • Is under indictment for a felony or against whom a finding of probable cause exists for a felony;
  • Has been adjudicated guilty of a felony in any court, unless: (i) the felony is an offense that pertains to antitrust violations, unfair trade practices, or restraints of trade, or (ii) the person’s firearm rights have been restored pursuant to state law;
  • Is a fugitive from justice;
  • Is an unlawful user of or addicted to marijuana, alcohol, or any depressant, stimulant, or narcotic drug or other controlled substance;
  • Is currently, or has been previously adjudicated to be, lacking mental capacity or mentally ill, unless his or her eligibility has been restored;2
  • Is or has been discharged from the Armed Forces under conditions other than honorable;
  • Is or has been adjudicated guilty of or received a prayer for judgment continued or suspended sentence for one or more specified crimes of violence constituting a misdemeanor within three years of the date of application (See N.C. Gen. Stat.§ 14‑415.12(b)(8).);
  • Is or has been adjudicated guilty of or received a prayer for judgment continued or suspended sentence for one or more crimes of violence constituting a misdemeanor for certain types of assault and battery, stalking, child abuse, and domestic criminal trespass crimes, and a violation of a protective order;
  • Is prohibited from possessing a firearm pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 922(g) as a result of a conviction of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence;
  • Has been adjudicated guilty of or received a prayer for judgment continued or suspended sentence for one or more crimes involving an assault or a threat to assault a law enforcement officer, probation or parole officer, person employed at a State or local detention facility, firefighter, emergency medical technician, medical responder, or emergency department personnel;
  • Has had entry of a prayer for judgment continued for a criminal offense which would disqualify the person from obtaining a concealed handgun permit;
  • Is free on bond or personal recognizance pending trial, appeal, or sentencing for a crime which would disqualify him or her from obtaining a concealed handgun permit; or
  • Has been convicted of an impaired driving offense within three years prior to the date on which the application is submitted.3

A 2015 law prevents a sheriff from seeking certain kinds of additional information to make this determination.4

Except when on one’s own premises, a person who willfully and intentionally carries a concealed firearm without a permit commits a misdemeanor. A second offense constitutes a felony.5

Firearm Safety Training

All persons applying for a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon in North Carolina must complete a training course involving the actual firing of handguns and instruction in the laws of the State governing the carrying of concealed handgun and the use of deadly force.6 The North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission must prepare and publish general guidelines for courses and qualifications of instructors which would satisfy the requirements of this subdivision.7 An approved course must be any course which satisfies the requirements of this subdivision and is certified or sponsored by:

  • The North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission,
  • The National Rifle Association, or
  • A law enforcement agency, college, private or public institution or organization, or firearms training school, taught by instructors certified by the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission or the National Rifle Association.8

Every instructor of an approved course must file a copy of the firearms course description, outline, and proof of certification annually, or upon modification of the course if more frequently, with the North Carolina Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards Commission.9

A photocopy of a certificate of completion of any of the courses or classes or an affidavit from the instructor, school, club, organization or group that conducted or taught said course or class attesting to the successful completion of the course or class by the applicant or a copy of any document which shows successful completion of the course or class constitutes evidence of qualification under this section.10

Duration & Renewal

A North Carolina concealed carry permit is valid for up to five years.11 A criminal background check is performed each time a permit is renewed.12

Disclosure or Use of Information

The sheriff must maintain a list of the name and identifying information of each person issued a concealed handgun permit. This information is confidential and is not a public record, but the sheriff must make it available to state and local law enforcement upon request.13

Reciprocity

A concealed handgun permit issued by any other state is valid in North Carolina.14

 

Notes
  1. N.C. Gen. Stat. §14-415.12. ⤴︎
  2. See N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 122C-54.1, 14-415.12(c). ⤴︎
  3. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.12(b). Additional application and background check requirements, as well as permit suspension or disqualification information, are detailed under state law. N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-415.13 through 14-415.18. ⤴︎
  4. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14‑415.13. ⤴︎
  5. N.C. Gen. Stat. §14-269. ⤴︎
  6. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.12(a)(4). ⤴︎
  7. Id. ⤴︎
  8. Id. ⤴︎
  9. Id. ⤴︎
  10. Id. ⤴︎
  11. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.11(b). ⤴︎
  12. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.16(c). ⤴︎
  13. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.17(c). ⤴︎
  14. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-415.24. ⤴︎

Dealer Regulations in North Carolina

North Carolina does not license firearms dealers. However, firearms dealers are subject to state laws governing gun sales generally. See the North Carolina Private Sales section for further information. Pursuant to federal law, federally licensed firearms dealers must conduct background checks on prospective purchasers each time the dealer transfers a firearm. See the North Carolina Background Checks section.

Under state law, a retail seller or transferor must deliver a written copy of state law relating to storage of firearms to protect minors to the purchaser or transferee with every firearm transfer.1 A retail or wholesale store or outlet that sells firearms must conspicuously post at each purchase counter the following warning:

“IT IS UNLAWFUL TO STORE OR LEAVE A FIREARM THAT CAN BE DISCHARGED IN A MANNER THAT A REASONABLE PERSON SHOULD KNOW IS ACCESSIBLE TO A MINOR.”2

See the section entitled Retention of Sales / Background Check Records for laws requiring dealers to retain records of sales.

See our Dealer Regulations policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 14-315.2, 14-315.1. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎

Domestic Violence & Firearms in North Carolina


See our Domestic Violence and Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

North Carolina has no law:

  • Requiring the removal or surrender of firearms from the scene of a domestic violence incident; or
  • Prohibiting individuals convicted of domestic violence misdemeanors from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition, although:
    • Federal law applies;
    • A 2015 state law makes these individuals ineligible for a concealed handgun permit; and
    • A 2015 state law requires fingerprinting of some misdemeanants, and recording of the relationship between certain perpetrators and their victims, to assist in identification of these misdemeanants.1

Firearm Prohibitions for Persons Subject to Domestic Violence Protective Orders, and Relinquishment of Firearms When Domestic Violence Protective Orders Are Issued

North Carolina law provides that a court that has found that an act of domestic violence has occurred must grant a protective order restraining the defendant from further acts of domestic violence.2 Through the order, the court may prohibit a party from purchasing a firearm for a time fixed in the order.3  Domestic violence is defined in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-1(a).4

A North Carolina statute states that it is unlawful for any person to possess, purchase, or receive a firearm, machine gun, ammunition, or a permit to purchase or carry concealed firearms if ordered by a court in a protective order that is in effect.5

State law provides that upon issuance of an emergency or ex parte domestic violence protective order, the court must order the defendant to surrender to the sheriff all firearms, ammunition, permits to purchase firearms, and permits to carry concealed firearms that are in his or her care, custody, possession, ownership, or control if the court finds any of the following factors:

  • The use or threatened use of a deadly weapon by the defendant or a pattern of prior conduct involving the use or threatened use of violence with a firearm against persons;
  • Threats to seriously injure or kill the aggrieved party or minor child by the defendant;
  • Threats to commit suicide by the defendant; or
  • Serious injuries inflicted upon the aggrieved party or minor child by the defendant.6

Note that federal law is broader.

At any ex parte, emergency, and regular hearing for a domestic violence protective order, the court must inquire of the plaintiff the presence of, ownership of, or otherwise access to firearms by the defendant, as well as ammunition, permits to purchase firearms, and permits to carry concealed firearms, and include, whenever possible, identifying information regarding the description, number, and location of firearms, ammunition, and permits in the order.7

Upon service of a domestic violence order that requires such surrender, the defendant must immediately surrender to the sheriff possession of all firearms, ammunition, permits to purchase firearms, and permits to carry concealed firearms that are in the care, custody, possession, ownership, or control of the defendant.8 In the event that weapons cannot be surrendered at the time the order is served, the defendant must surrender the firearms, ammunitions, and permits to the sheriff within 24 hours of service at a time and place specified by the sheriff.9

If the court orders the defendant to surrender firearms, ammunition, and permits, the court must inform the plaintiff and the defendant of the terms of the protective order and include these terms on the face of the order, including that the defendant is prohibited from possessing or purchasing a firearm for so long as the protective order or any successive protective order is in effect.10 The sheriff may not release firearms, ammunition, or permits without a court order granting the release.11

If the court does not enter a protective order when the ex parte or emergency order expires, the defendant may retrieve any weapons surrendered to the sheriff unless the court finds that the defendant is precluded from owning or possessing a firearm pursuant to state or federal law or final disposition of any pending criminal charges for crimes committed against the person protected by the protective order.12

The defendant may request the return of any firearms, ammunition, or permits surrendered by filing a motion with the court at the expiration of the protective order or final disposition of any pending criminal charges and not later than 90 days thereafter. Upon receipt of the motion, the court must schedule a hearing and provide written notice to the plaintiff and to the sheriff who has control of the firearms, ammunition, or permits.13 The inquiry must include:

  • Whether the protective order has been renewed;
  • Whether the defendant is subject to any other protective orders;
  • Whether the defendant is disqualified from owning or possessing a firearm pursuant to federal or state law;14 and
  • Whether the defendant has any pending criminal charges, in either state or federal court for crimes committed against the person who is the subject of the protective order.15

The court must deny the return of firearms, ammunition, or permits if the court finds that the defendant is precluded from owning or possessing a firearm pursuant to state or federal law or if the defendant has any pending criminal charges for crimes committed against the person protected by the current protective order until the final disposition of those charges.16

It is unlawful for any person subject to a protective order prohibiting the possession or purchase of firearms to:

  • Purchase or possess a firearm, ammunition, or permits to purchase or carry concealed firearms;
  • Fail to surrender all firearms, ammunition, permits to purchase firearms, and permits to carry concealed firearms to the sheriff as ordered by the court;
  • Fail to disclose all information pertaining to the possession of firearms, ammunition, and permits to purchase and permits to carry concealed firearms as requested by the court; or
  • Provide false information to the court pertaining to any of these items.17

Finally, pursuant to state law, no person may obtain a permit to purchase a handgun if he or she is subject to a court order that:

  • Was issued after a hearing of which the person received actual notice, and at which the person had an opportunity to participate;
  • Restrains the person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of the person or child of the intimate partner of the person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child; and
  • Includes a finding that the person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of the intimate partner or child; or by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against the intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury.18

State law requires the sheriff of a county to provide for prompt entry of all domestic violence protective orders into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) protection order file, which is used in the background check process prior to firearm transfers.19

For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the North Carolina Background Checks section.

 

Notes
  1. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 15A‑502. ⤴︎
  2. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-3. ⤴︎
  3. Id. ⤴︎
  4. North Carolina law defines “domestic violence” as the commission of one or more of the following acts upon an aggrieved party or upon a minor child residing with or in the custody of the aggrieved party by a person with whom the aggrieved party has or has had a “personal relationship”: attempting to cause bodily injury, or intentionally causing bodily injury; placing the aggrieved party or a member of the aggrieved party’s family or household in fear of imminent serious bodily injury or continued harassment that rises to such a level as to inflict substantial emotional distress; or committing one or more of the sexual offenses defined under state law. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-1(a).

    “Personal relationship” means a relationship wherein the parties involved: Are current or former spouses; are persons of opposite sex who live together or have lived together; are related as parents and children, including others acting in loco parentis to a minor child, or as grandparents and grandchildren. For purposes of this subdivision, an aggrieved party may not obtain an order of protection against a child or grandchild under the age of 16; have a child in common; are current or former household members; or are persons of the opposite sex who are in a dating relationship or have been in a “dating relationship.” A “dating relationship” is one wherein the parties are romantically involved over time and on a continuous basis during the course of the relationship. A casual acquaintance or ordinary fraternization between persons in a business or social context is not a dating relationship. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-1(b). ⤴︎

  5. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.8; see also Chapter 50B of the General Statutes regarding protective orders. ⤴︎
  6. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-3.1(a). ⤴︎
  7. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-3.1(b), (c). ⤴︎
  8. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-3.1(d). A third-party owner of firearms, ammunition, or permits who is otherwise eligible to possess such items may file a motion requesting the return of any such items seized as a result of the domestic violence protective order. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-3.1(g). ⤴︎
  9. Id. ⤴︎
  10. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-3.1(d)(1). ⤴︎
  11. Id. ⤴︎
  12. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-3.1(e). ⤴︎
  13. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-3.1(f). ⤴︎
  14. See 18 U.S.C. § 922 et. seq. ⤴︎
  15. Id. ⤴︎
  16. Id. ⤴︎
  17. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-3.1(i), (j); see also N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.8. ⤴︎
  18. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-404(c)(8). The terms of state law mirror the federal law that prohibits possession of a firearm by a person subject to a domestic violence protective order. See 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(8) and N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-404(c)(8). ⤴︎
  19. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 50B-3(d). ⤴︎