Federal law prohibits certain people from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

In addition, North Dakota has adopted other classes of prohibited persons and incorporated some of the federal prohibitions as state offenses. North Dakota provides that, subject to certain limited exceptions, no person shall possess a firearm if he or she:

  • Has been convicted of a felony involving violence or intimidation in any state or under federal law, or released from incarceration, parole or probation after being so convicted, during the past ten years;
  • Has been convicted of a felony other than a felony involving violence or intimidation in any state or under federal law, committed while using or possessing a firearm, other dangerous weapon, destructive device or explosive, or released from incarceration, parole or probation after being so convicted, during the past five years;
  • Has been convicted of a class A misdemeanor involving violence or intimidation in any state or under federal law, committed while using or possessing a firearm, other dangerous weapon, destructive device or explosive, or released from incarceration, parole or probation after being so convicted, during the past five years; or
  • Is or has ever been confined or committed to an institution as a person requiring treatment or as a mentally deficient person, unless the person has not suffered from the disability for the previous three years, or has had the petition for diagnosis, confinement, or commitment dismissed.1

For purposes of these provisions, a person is considered to have been “convicted,” upon a verdict of guilty, a plea of guilty or a plea of nolo contendere.2 A person may be considered “convicted” even if:

  • The court suspended execution or deferred imposition of the sentence, or placed the person on probation;
  • The person’s conviction has been reduced in accordance with state law;3
  • Sentence dispositions, sentence reductions, or offense determinations equivalent to this section were imposed or granted by a court, board, agency, or law of another state or the federal government; or
  • The person committed the offense when that person was subject to juvenile adjudication or proceedings.4

For information on the background check process used to enforce these provisions, see the North Dakota Background Checkssection.

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-02-01. ⤴︎
  2. Id. ⤴︎
  3. See N.D. Cent. Code §§ 12.1-32-02(9), 12.1-32-07.1. ⤴︎
  4. Id. ⤴︎