North Carolina has significant room to improve its gun safety laws, earning a D on our Annual Gun Law Scorecard. While the state requires universal background checks for handgun purchases, it fails to do the same for long guns. In 2017, North Carolina had the 23rd-highest gun death rate in the country and imported crime guns at the 7th-highest rate. Improvements North Carolina could make to its gun laws include funding community violence intervention programs and enacting an extreme risk protection order law.
State Law Background
Among other things, North Carolina requires all handgun purchasers to first obtain a license, after undergoing a background check.
However, North Carolina does not:
- Require a person to undergo a background check prior to purchasing a long gun from an unlicensed seller;
- Prohibit the transfer or possession of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles, or large capacity ammunition magazines;
- License or significantly regulate firearms dealers;
- Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time;
- Require firearm owners to report lost or stolen firearms;
- Regulate unsafe handguns;
- Regulate ammunition sales;
- Allow local governments to regulate firearms or ammunition; or
- Provide local law enforcement with discretion to deny a license to carry firearms.
In 2017, North Carolina had the 23rd highest gun death rate among the states. North Carolina supplied crime guns to other states at slightly higher rate than the national average, but the state actually imports more crime guns than it exports. North Carolina imported crime guns at the 7th highest rate among the states.
North Carolina Firearms Laws
For details about specific firearms laws in North Carolina, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.