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Legal Information: North Carolina

State Gun Laws

Laws current as of December 22, 2023

I do not have a DVPO against the abuser and s/he has not been convicted of a crime. Can s/he have a gun?

There can be other reasons (aside from criminal convictions and being the respondent on a protection order) that can make it illegal for someone to possess a gun. Under North Carolina law, a person has to first apply for a permit before legally owning a firearm. The following people should be denied the permit according to the law and, therefore, cannot legally possess a firearm:

  • someone who was found not guilty of a crime by reason of insanity;
  • someone who was determined to not have the mental capacity to proceed in a criminal case;1
  • someone who is an illegal drug user or an addict;
  • someone who has been found to be mentally incompetent by a judge or has been committed to any mental institution;
  • an illegal immigrant in the United States or someone who has renounced his/her U.S. citizenship; or
  • someone who has been discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions.2

If none of these situations apply, you can still make a plan for your safety. See our Safety Planning page for more information. You can also contact your local domestic violence organization for additional help.

For additional information on gun laws in North Carolina, you can go to the Giffords Law Center website.

Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun under other circumstances. Go to Federal Gun Laws to get more information.

1 NCGS § 14-415.3(a)
2 NCGS § 14-404(c)

If the abuser is a law enforcement officer or other government official, do the state firearm laws still apply?

Maybe. If the abuser has not been convicted of a crime, and you have a DVPO against him, the abuser may still be able to use the gun for work purposes, but not for personal use.1 You can ask the judge at your DVPO hearing to order that the abuser cannot have a gun for work purposes . If the judge decides to check this box, the abuser cannot use a gun at work or for personal use. To see a copy of the DVPO order online, go to our NC Download Court Forms page.

If you are confused or not sure whether the abuser can still use his/her gun for work purposes, you can talk to a domestic violence advocate in your area or call the National Center on Full Faith and Credit to find out more information.

1 NCGS § 50B-3.1(k)

I read through all of this information, and I'm still confused. What can I do?

Trying to understand both federal and state laws can be confusing, but there are people who can help you better understand the law and your rights under the law. You can: