See our Carrying Concealed Weapons policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
No person other than a law enforcement officer may carry a firearm concealed unless the person is licensed to do so. Pursuant to state law, a firearm is considered “concealed” if any one of the following apply:
- The firearm is being carried in such a manner as to not be discernible by the ordinary observation of a passerby, even if it is not absolutely invisible;
- The firearm is worn under clothing and not secured;
- The firearm is carried in a bundle that is held or carried by the individual and not secured; or
- The firearm is being transported not secured in a vehicle, and is available to the individual, including beneath the seat or in a glove compartment.
North Dakota is a “shall issue” state, meaning that local law enforcement must issue a concealed deadly weapon license if the applicant meets certain qualifications. Pursuant to North Dakota law, to qualify for a permit an applicant must:
- Be eligible to possess a firearm under state and federal law;
- Be able to demonstrate that he or she is a resident of this state by providing a copy of a valid driver’s license or state-issued identification card or can demonstrate that he or she is a resident of a state which state has reciprocity with North Dakota and the individual possesses a valid concealed carry permit from his or her state of residence;
- Pass a criminal records check conducted by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the FBI, after providing all documentation relating to any court-ordered treatment or commitment for mental health or alcohol or substance abuse or incidents of domestic violence, and providing written authorization for disclosure of mental health and alcohol or substance abuse evaluation and treatment records.The Bureau must conduct a statewide and federal criminal history record check for the purpose of determining eligibility for a concealed weapons license for each applicant for an initial license or the renewal of a concealed weapons license. If the applicant is not a United States citizen, an immigration alien query must be conducted.
The attorney general must offer Class 1 and Class 2 licenses. A Class 1 license may not be issued to any individual who:
- Has been convicted of a felony;
- Has been convicted of a crime of violence:
- Has been convicted of an offense involving the use of alcohol within the ten years preceding the date of application;
- Has been convicted of a misdemeanor offense involving the unlawful use of narcotics or other controlled substances within the ten years preceding the date of application;
- Has been convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude;
- Has been convicted of an offense involving domestic violence;
- Has been adjudicated by a state or federal court as mentally incompetent, unless the adjudication has been withdrawn or reversed; or
- Is disqualified to purchase and possess a firearm under federal law.
Additionally, North Dakota may deny a class 1 license to anyone it has reason to believe is or has been a danger to self or others as demonstrated by evidence, including past pattern of behavior involving unlawful violence or threats of unlawful violence; or conviction of a weapons offense. In determining whether the applicant is or has been a threat to self or others, North Dakota may inspect expunged adult and juvenile court records of arrests and convictions.
An applicant must be 21 years of age for a Class 1 license, or 18 years of age for a Class 2 license. State law appears to make no distinction between the conduct allowed under a Class 1 or a Class 2 license.
Additional application and background check requirements, as well as permit suspension or disqualification information, are detailed under state law.
Firearm Safety Training
The applicant must successfully complete a testing procedure conducted by a certified test administrator. The person conducting the testing may assess a charge of up to $50 for conducting this testing. The attorney general may certify a test administrator based upon criteria and guidelines prescribed by the Director of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
The attorney general must offer Class 1 and Class 2 licenses. An applicant for a Class 1 license must:
- Participate in classroom instruction that sets forth weapon safety rules and the deadly force law of North Dakota;
- Complete an open book test based upon a manual;
- Demonstrate familiarity with a firearm or dangerous weapon, through certification by a certified instructor, participation in an organized shooting competition or dangerous weapon course of training, or possession of a license from another state, or evidence of weapons experience during military service; and
- Complete an actual shooting or certified proficiency exercise.
An applicant for a Class 2 license is only required to successfully complete the open book test offered for the Class 1 license.
Duration & Renewal
A license to carry a concealed weapon is currently valid for up to three years; however, beginning July 1, 2011, a license to carry a concealed weapon will be valid for up to five years. Fingerprints, which are required as part of an application for an original license, are not required in an application for renewal.
Disclosure or Use of Information
Information collected from an applicant for a concealed weapons license is confidential information. However, the information may be disclosed:
- To a governmental agency or court for a law enforcement purpose, including the investigation, prosecution, or punishment of a violation of law.
- To a court to aid in a decision concerning sentence, probation, or release pending trial or appeal.
- Pursuant to a court order or a judicial, legislative, or administrative agency subpoena issued in North Dakota.
Pursuant North Dakota law, a valid license to carry issued by another state which recognizes the concealed carry licenses of North Dakota is valid in North Dakota.
For a list of states with which North Dakota has signed formal reciprocity agreements, see the North Dakota Permit Reciprocity page, maintained by the North Dakota Attorney General.