North Carolina gun laws create guidelines for the purchase, transfer and sale of firearms across the entire state. Rifles and shotguns can be purchased on-the-spot with a quick background check, but buying a handgun in North Carolina is not a quick process.
- County Sherriff’s approval of a permit. A county Sherriff will only issue a handgun permit in North Carolina if they find the applicant is of good moral character. The Sherriff will also verify the intent for the permit, which must be one or more of the following: hunting, target shooting, collecting, or protection of property or family.
- A background check. The National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) provides necessary background information that federally licensed firearms dealers are required to contact. Prior to the transfer of any firearms, the background check with NICS must be completed in order to determine if the buyer is qualified. NC hand gun permits also qualify as a background check in lieu of a NICS inquiry. (A valid NC Concealed Handgun Permit can be used as an alternative to NICS only for the purchases of long guns.) The Sherriff will perform a background check as part of your permit application.
- A permit (for handguns). A valid permit allows the permit holder to buy a single firearm. Multiple firearms can be purchased with the permit as long as they are bought at the same time in the same transaction. It is illegal for an individual or entity to sell, transfer or give away a firearm (in both private and commercial sales) without acquiring a license or permit. When a firearm or multiple firearms are bequeathed to an individual through a North Carolina gun trust, the beneficiary is required to hold a permit. A NC gun trust attorney can help ensure the permit requirements are met and that the permit is included with the estate. Permits are not required for antique firearms.