What do I need to buy a handgun in North Carolina?

North Carolina Handgun Purchase Requirements

The requirements are uniform throughout the state. You must be 21 years of age (federal requirement), a resident of North Carolina (federal requirement) and you need:

– A valid, government-issued photo ID with your photo, date of birth and current North Carolina address (i.e. NC Driver’s License with the correct address.)


One (1) of the following:

– A non-expired North Carolina Pistol Purchase Permit issued by the Sheriff’s office in the county in which you live.


– A non-expired North Carolina Concealed Handgun License issued by the Sheriff’s office in the county in which you live.

Each county has a slightly different process. For example, Durham County and most others have the Pistol Permit Application available online. Durham’s page is HERE,

For Pistol Purchase Permits, here is a listing of where you can find your county’s application process or information either online or in-person (other counties coming soon):

How many handguns can I buy using my CHL or Purchase Permit?

The pistol purchase permits are good for a single handgun purchase. When you go to apply or pick up your permit(s) ask for more than one if you intend to buy a few handguns in the next five years. This will reduce the amount of paperwork you have to do.

Concealed Handgun Licenses enable the holder to purchase as many handguns as he/she would like while the license is active.

Is there a waiting period once I have my CHL or purchase permit?

No. Once you have your license or permit, walk into a North Carolina licensed firearms retailer, pick out your handgun, fill out the form (4473), pay for it and take it home!

Why does the gun store keep my permit when I purchase a firearm with it?

State law requires that the gun store retains the original permit in their records. You will use up one permit every time you purchase or transfer a handgun in North Carolina.

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