New Rules for Purchasing Handguns In North Carolina


For many years purchasing a firearm in North Carolina was a confusing process. With different rules for purchasing a pistol and a long gun, many people would have to be turned away from purchasing a certain firearm because they did not have the proper paperwork. In March of 2023, the North Carolina legislature overturned Governor Cooper’s veto and passed a law making the process to buy a handgun in North Carolina the same as the process for buying a long gun. Here are some frequently asked questions about this new law.

When does the new law take effect?

This law is in effect as of March 29, 2023. That means that any purchase after this date the new rules will be in effect.

What is the actual change in the process?

First, the major change that the new law enacts is that the pistol purchase permit is no longer required for a North Carolina Resident to purchase a handgun. This change eliminates the process of going to the local sheriff and having them run a background check, then issuing you a permit for you to use with each purchase. It also removes the $5.00 fee that was associated with each permit.

Does this mean I can buy a gun with no background check?

No, this change means that gun stores no longer have to have a pistol purchase permit when you wish to purchase a handgun. The law does not remove the requirement that you fill out the ATF form 4473 and the gun store will run your name through a background check prior to letting you finalize the transaction.

Who is actually running the background checks now?

All federally licensed gun stores have access to what is called the NICS system, or National Instant Criminal Background Check System. This system allows the store to put in various personal details of the buyer and will give them one of three answers; proceed, delay, or deny. The store can only proceed with the sale if the system gives them a proceed answer. If the answer is delayed then they must wait for the system to process additional information and usually after several days, they will get either a proceed or denied response. If you get a denied response the store may not proceed with the transaction.

I got a denied response, what do I do now?

Unlike the previous system, the State courts of North Carolina do not have the jurisdiction to overturn this denial. You have to go through the FBI’s process to overturn the denial. This can be a long and complicated process that a firearms attorney can help you with.

If you have a denied response or you have any other firearm purchase issues. Contact Jetton and Meredith today and let our experienced firearms attorneys help you.