The Midwest state of North Dakota adopts an Unrestricted and a Shall-Issue policy. That means that the adult residents at least 18 years old; have resided in the state for at least one year and who is not prohibited from possessing and carrying a firearm are protected by the state’s Constitutional Concealed Carry policy. Please note you also must carry with you your driver’s license or state ID and MUST inform law enforcement that they have the firearm upon any in-person contact by a law enforcement officer. Similarly, no permits, firearms registration, or background checks are required to buy a handgun from a private individual within the state.
Nonetheless, the state of North Carolina still issues two types of permits for reciprocity purposes. Open carry of handguns is legal with a Concealed Weapon License (CWL) for adults that have been residents for at least one year. Non-permit holders may carry from one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset, provided the firearm is unloaded and in plain sight. North Dakota issues Class 1 and Class 2 CWLs. Both licenses are equally valid within North Dakota. Still, because of additional testing requirements, the holders of a Class 1 license have reciprocity in many more states than those who hold a Class 2 license. CWLs require completion of a state-certified firearms training course.
If these laws are still confusing you, you can refer to the quick guide below for more information about the gun laws and permit application in the state of North Dakota.
North Dakota CCW Handgun License
All firearm license applicants need to satisfy several requirements before they are allowed to apply for a permit. Please note that amidst the fact that North Dakota is a shall-issue state, the authorities still have the right to deny an application of someone if they have reasonable information and determination that the applicant can pose a threat to other people of the state. That being said, in order to apply for a gun permit, you must:
- Be at least age 18 for a Class 2 license; age 21 for a Class 1 license;
- Be a United States citizen or legal permanent resident alien;
- Legally be able to possess a firearm/dangerous weapon;
- Be a resident of North Dakota; OR on full-time active military duty stationed in N.D.; OR a resident of a state that has reciprocity with N.D. and who possesses a valid concealed weapon license in their home state;
- Have successfully completed the training requirements;
- Not be prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm;
- Have no disqualifying offenses. A criminal background check is conducted by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) and the FBI on every new and renewal applicant. A 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, or
- Has been adjudicated by a state or federal court as mentally incompetent, unless the adjudication has been withdrawn or reversed; and
- Meet federal law requirements.
The following steps are required to be followed when applying for a gun permit in North Dakota:
STEP 1: Complete the required training in the state of N.D. Decide if you want a Class 1 or Class 2 license, download the application, complete it and print out a copy to mail in OR complete it at the testing site, if available. Make an appointment with a test administrator and take a copy of the printed application to the testing appointment. All first-time applicants must pass a written, open-book test based on the Concealed Weapon License Manual. Applicants for a Class 1 license will also need to complete classroom instruction, demonstrate familiarity with the weapon, and successfully complete a firearms proficiency shooting test.
STEP 2: Gather the following required documents and submit them to the Bureau of Criminal Inspection (BCI) within 30 days of the testing date:
- Cashiers check or money order for $60;
- Photocopy of a driver's license or state I.D.;
- Two color passport photos; and
- Two fingerprint cards (for new applicants)
STEP 3: Mail the completed application and all required documents to:
P.O. Box 1054
Bismarck ND 58502
STEP 4: You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.
The Bureau of Criminal Inspection (BCI) will be sending a notification to the last address you have on file at least 180 days prior to the expiration of your license. By that time, you must start the renewal process. A renewal application must be postmarked on or before the license expiration date. Late or incomplete applications cannot be processed. Please note that once your license expires, you cannot renew it anymore, and you need to apply for a new initial permit to obtain a new license. An expired license cannot also be used to concealed carry any firearms in the state of North Dakota.
Follow these steps to renew you North Dakota Class 1 and Class 2 licenses:
STEP 1: To renew a Class 1 license, you will need to complete the full testing process, just as you did for your initial license. You can "downgrade" to a class 2 license and avoid having to retest by indicating on the application that you would like a class 2 license. You do not have to retest to renew a class 2 license. To "upgrade" an expiring Class 2 license to a Class 1 license, you must complete the application process for a Class 1 license, including the required testing, documents, and fees.
Make an appointment with a test administrator and take a copy of the printed application to the testing appointment. All first-time applicants must pass a written, open-book test based on the Concealed Weapon License Manual. Applicants for a Class 1 license will also need to complete classroom instruction, demonstrate familiarity with the weapon, and successfully complete a firearms proficiency shooting test.
STEP 3: Complete the Online Application or print a blank application to complete and submit to the BCI. Be aware that it takes the BCI longer to process these handwritten applications, which may result in a delay in issuing your license. Therefore, the BCI encourages you to complete the Online Application, if at all possible.
STEP 3: You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.
The following are the associated fees in applying for or renewing a gun permit in North Dakota:
Initial Permit, five years validity
Renewals, five years validity
North Dakota CCW Laws
YES/NO – Without a Permit/License
A permit is required for gun owners to carry a loaded handgun inside a vehicle as well as to conceal carry it inside.
Must Notify Officer
NO/YES – Must Inform Officer on Contact By Law
NO – North Dakota gun laws do not require you to inform law enforcement you are carrying a firearm if you have a license to carry. But you are legally obligated to carry your permit/license at all times you have a firearm on your person and to hand the permit over if requested by law enforcement.
YES – If you are carrying without a permit, then you are required to inform law enforcement that you have a weapon on your person.
NO – Without a Permit/License
Open carry is only allowed with a concealed carry license/permit.
No Weapons Signs Enforced
“No Weapons” signs are not mentioned in North Dakota gun laws. There are no legal penalties for entering a private property or business that has posted these signs. They have no force of law unless they are posted in areas that are mentioned by the law as being off limits. However, refusal to leave a private property amidst the demand of the owner/s can lead to a trespassing violation.
North Dakota Gun Forms & Supporting Documentation
Purchase and Possession
All firearms dealers must maintain a federally issued license to sell handguns. Within seven days of receipt of this license, dealers are mandated to send a copy of their license to both the county sheriff and the city chief of police.
It is illegal in the state of North Dakota to provide false information or false forms of identification in instances of handgun purchase, handgun delivery or a license to carry a concealed handgun.
No person may sell any handgun to a person under the age of 18. Handguns may be lawfully given to persons under the age of 18 if the minor will be operating the handgun with the proper supervision of a responsible adult.
It is illegal in North Dakota to transfer, loan, sell, supply or otherwise give a firearm or ammunition to a recipient reasonably judged or known by the original owner or purveyor to be disqualified from possessing a firearm.
All of the following are prohibited from possessing a firearm:
- Persons adjudicated as mentally ill by any valid court within the past three years.
- Convicts of a felony in any court jurisdiction.
- Minors under the age of 18 unless they are properly supervised by a responsible adult and are engaging in the lawful practice of hunting, target shooting or safety training.
- Convicts of Class A misdemeanor offenses in which violent acts, intimidating behaviors or the possession or use of firearms or dangerous weapons was utilized or included in the crime provided that they have been released from probation or imprisonment within the previous five years.
No person may sell, purchase or possess a shotgun that is, in total, less than 26 inches or utilizes a barrel less than 18 inches or a rifle that is, in total, less than 26 inches or utilizes a barrel less than 16 inches.
Exempt from this regulation are persons who properly register their firearms under the National Firearms Act guidelines, military personnel operating within the scope of their orders and duties, and officers of the law acting within their duties.
It is illegal to possess any firearm on the grounds of any business in which liquor or other alcoholic beverages are consumed or any gaming business. Exempt from this regulation are the owners and employees of any of the types of aforementioned businesses, officers of the law and persons designated by a business to present an unloaded firearm in a lawful action or raffle game.
No person may possess a firearm within the confines of any type of gathering of the public. Exempt from this regulation are participants in organized shooting competitions, military personnel while acting within the scope of their duties, officers of the law, firearms implementing “blank” ammunition, persons participating in a lawful firearms or hunting safety course, private security guards acting within the scope of their duties and persons lawfully transporting firearms in their private vehicles or mobile residences.
Carrying a Firearm
It is illegal to possess or carry a loaded firearm within the confines of a motor vehicle. Any person wishing to acquire a license to carry a concealed firearm may submit an application to Bureau of Criminal Investigation.
Antiques & Replicas
Antiques are not considered in North Dakota law and therefore are treated as any other firearm.
No person may own a machine gun unless he or she adheres to the National Firearms Act.
Any federal licensee who purchases, sells, has or possesses a machine gun must send a copy of the licensee’s federal license along with the mandatory weapons transfer form to the licensee’s local county sheriff and the chief of the bureau of criminal investigations within five days of receipt of the form. Exemptions are for: authorized agents who have a license to purchase, sell, have, or possess a machine gun; members of a duly authorized military organization; North Dakota and federal law enforcement officers.
A shooting range shall not be subject to civil claims of noise or noise pollution. N.D. CENT. CODE § 42-01-01 (2011)
1. Sport shooting range deemed not a nuisance.
If a sport shooting range has been in operation for one year since the date on which it began operation as a sport shooting range, it does not become a public or private nuisance as a result of changed conditions in or around the locality of the sport shooting range. If a sport shooting range remains in compliance with noise control or nuisance abatement rules or ordinances in effect on the date on which it commenced operation, it is not subject to a civil or criminal action resulting from or relating to noise generated by the operation of the sport shooting range. A person who acquires title to real property that is adversely affected by the operation of a permanently located and improved sport shooting range constructed and initially operated before that person acquired title to the property adversely affected may not maintain a civil action on the basis of noise or noise pollution against the person who owns or operates the sport shooting range. A rule, resolution, or ordinance relating to noise control, noise pollution, or noise abatement adopted by the state or a political subdivision may not be applied to prohibit the operation of a sport shooting range, provided the conduct was lawful and being conducted before the adoption of the rule, resolution, or ordinance. Except as otherwise provided in this section, a political subdivision may regulate the location and construction of a sport shooting range after August 1, 1999. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a county or city enacting a home rule charter under chapter 11-09.1, 40-05.1, or 54-40.4 may not regulate a sport shooting range except as otherwise provided in this section. As used in this section, sport shooting range means an area designated and operated by a person for the sport shooting of firearms or any area so designated and operated by the state or a political subdivision, regardless of the terms for admission to the sport shooting range.
North Dakota Concealed Carry Reciprocity
North Dakota's Reciprocity States
States that honor a north dakota permit
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
North Dakota honors permits from these states
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Places where you CAN’T carry in North Dakota
- Public gatherings
- Athletic or sporting events
- Schools or school functions
- Churches or church functions
- Political rallies or functions
- Musical concerts
- Any establishment that sells alcoholic beverages or is used as a gaming site
- individuals in publicly owned parks where hunting is not allowed by proclamation and publicly owned or operated buildings
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law.
Places where you CAN carry in North Dakota
- State parks
- State and national forests
- Road side rest areas
- All areas of the state not in the off-limits list
No political subdivision, including any city or county, may execute any ordinance relating to the purchase, sale, ownership, transfer, registration, or licensure of firearms and ammunition, which is more prohibitive than state law.
A firearms manufacturer, distributor, or seller who legally transfers a firearm is not liable to a person or to the estate, a successor, or survivor of any person for any injury suffered, including wrongful death and property damage, because of the use of a firearm by someone else. A firearm may not be conceived as defective in any way solely on the basis of its potential to cause serious injury, damage, or death when fired.It is illegal to fire a gun within a city, with the exception of the legal discharge of firearms by law enforcement officers, by citizens in defense of person or property, or by participants in legal activities in which discharge of firearms is recognized as an aspect of an activity including but not limited to shooting galleries and ranges.
It is illegal for any parent, guardian, or other person having charge or custody of a minor under 15 years of age to allow that minor to carry or use in public any loaded firearm, except when the minor is under the direct supervision of the parent or guardian.
It is legal for a person residing in the state, including a corporation or other business entity maintaining a place of business, to purchase or otherwise obtain a rifle or shotgun from a federally licensed gun dealer in an adjacent state and to receive or transport that rifle or shotgun into this state.
Any markings of identification on a handgun cannot be changed, altered, removed, or obliterated, and no person shall knowingly own a handgun on which such alterations have been made. Ownership of such a handgun generates a legal presumption that the owner made the alterations.
A person who possesses a gun at a public gathering is guilty of a class B misdemeanor. For the understanding of this section, "public gathering" includes athletic or sporting events, schools or school activities, church or church functions, political rallies or events, musical concerts, and individuals in publicly owned parks where hunting is not allowed by proclamation, and publicly owned or operated buildings. The term "public gathering" does not pertain to federal or state parks.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who issues a permit?
Concealed carry permits/licenses are issued by the Attorney General.
How long is the processing time?
The application for a concealed carry permit/license must be processed within 60 days of the application being received.
What are the different licenses available in North Dakota?
There are two types of permit/licenses available:
Class 1 – has reciprocity in many more states
Class 2 – less reciprocity but both licenses are treated the same within North Dakota
Can non-residents purchase a gun permit?
Yes. Non-resident permits are available.
North Dakota Off Limit Statues
62.1-02-04. - Possession of Firearm or Dangerous Weapon in Liquor Establishment Prohibited – Penalty – Exceptions.
1. An individual who enters or remains in that part of the establishment that is for the retail sale of alcoholic beverages and the consumption of purchased alcoholic beverages or used as a gaming site at which bingo is the primary gaming activity while that individual knowingly possesses a firearm or dangerous weapon is guilty of an infraction. In addition, an individual is guilty of an offense under this section for the knowing possession of a device that uses a projectile and voltage in the part of an establishment that is set aside for the retail sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.
2. This section does not apply to:
f. The restaurant part of an establishment if an individual under twenty - one years of age is not prohibited in that part of the establishment.
62.1-02-05. - Possession of a firearm or dangerous weapon at a public gathering - Penalty - Application.
1. An individual who knowingly possesses a firearm or dangerous weapon at a public gathering is guilty of an infraction. For the purpose of this section, "public gathering" means an athletic or sporting event, a school, a church or other place of worship, and a publicly owned or operated building.
2. This section does not apply to:
f. A firearm or dangerous weapon carried in a temporary residence or motor vehicle;
k. An individual in a publicly owned or operated rest area or restroom;
l. An individual possessing a valid concealed weapons license from this state or who has reciprocity under section 62.1-04-03.1 authorizing the individual to carry a firearm or dangerous weapon concealed if the individual is in a church building or other place of worship and has the approval to carry in the church building or other place of worship by a primary religious leader of the church or other place of worship or the governing body of the church or other place of worship;
62.1-02-10. - Carrying loaded firearm in certain vehicles prohibited - Penalty - Exceptions
An individual may not keep or carry a loaded firearm in or on any motor vehicle, including an off - highway vehicle or snowmobile in this state. An individual violating this section is guilty of an infraction. This prohibition does not apply to:
3. An individual possessing a valid concealed weapons license from this state or who has reciprocity under section 62.1 - 04 - 03.1 with a handgun, or with a rifle or shotgun if not in the field hunting or trapping. 7. An individual who is not otherwise precluded from possessing a class 2 firearm and dangerous weapon license under chapter 62.1-04 and has possessed for at least one year a valid driver's license or non driver identification card issued by the department of transportation.
62.1-04-01. - Definition of concealed.
A firearm or dangerous weapon is concealed if it is carried in such a manner as to not be discernible by the ordinary observation of a passerby. There is no requirement that there be absolute invisibility of the firearm or dangerous weapon, merely that it not be ordinarily discernible. A firearm or dangerous weapon is considered concealed if it is not secured, and is worn under clothing or carried in a bundle that is held or carried by the individual, or transported in a vehicle under the individual's control or direction and available to the individual, including beneath the seat or in a glove compartment. A firearm or dangerous weapon is not considered concealed if it is:
1. Carried in a belt holster which is wholly or substantially visible or carried in a case designed for carrying a firearm or dangerous weapon and which is wholly or substantially visible;
2. Locked in a closed trunk or luggage compartment of a motor vehicle;
3. Carried in the field while lawfully engaged in hunting, trapping, or target shooting, whether visible or not;
4. Carried by any person permitted by law to possess a handgun unloaded and in a secure wrapper from the place of purchase to that person's home or place of business, or to a place of repair, or back from those locations.
5. A bow and arrow, rifle, shotgun, unloaded handgun, or a weapon that will expel, or is readily capable of expelling, a projectile by the action of a spring, compressed air, or compressed gas including any such weapon commonly referred to as a BB gun, air rifle, or CO2 gun, while carried in a motor vehicle.
62.1-04-03. License to Carry a Firearm or Dangerous Weapon Concealed
2. c. A North Dakota resident who has a valid class 1 firearm license also may carry a class 2 dangerous weapon without any further testing required. Class 1 and class 2 permits are equally valid in this state.