Permitless Carry

Permitless Carry

The gun lobby is campaigning to weaken N.C. gun laws under the guise of protecting Second Amendment rights, seeking to eliminate the requirement that an individual obtain a permit before being allowed to carry a concealed handgun in public. If passed, permitless carry would make North Carolinians less safe by essentially allowing gun owners to carry a loaded, hidden handgun without undergoing any training in firearm safety or North Carolina firearms laws. Additionally, background checks currently required by NC’s concealed carry law would be eliminated and the 21-year-old age requirement for carrying concealed would be lowered, allowing people as young as 18 years old to carry concealed.

Current Concealed Carry Permit Requirements

These bills would in effect do away with current North Carolina law requiring applicants for a concealed carry permit holder to meet prudent and minimally burdensome requirements. Currently, a concealed carry permit holder in NC must:
  • Be a U.S. citizen or a lawfully admitted permanent resident.
  • Be at least 21 years of age.
  • Have lived in North Carolina for at least 30 days before applying for the permit.
  • Not suffer from a physical or mental impairment that inhibits the safe handling of a handgun.
  • Pass an instant criminal background check.
  • Complete an approved firearms safety training course which includes:
    • The actual firing of handguns.
    • Instruction in state laws governing concealed carry and the use of deadly force.1-3
  • Be at least 21 years of age.

Permitless carry states are less safe

Concealed carry permit systems require background checks, and sometimes require firearm safety training to ensure responsible handling and use of a concealed handgun. In permitless carry states, gun owners as young as 18 years old can legally carry concealed weapons in public with no training and no background check.5

  • States with weaker permitting laws (called “shall-issue” laws*), which in many cases are a precursor to permitless carry laws, are associated with higher homicide and violent crime rates:
    • States with shall issue laws have 11% higher handgun homicide rates, and 9% higher firearm homicide rates, than states with stronger concealed carry laws.6
    • States with stronger laws that allow greater law enforcement discretion to issue carry permits (“may issue”) have 15% lower firearm homicide rates compared to shall issue states.7
  • At present, 25 states have passed laws allowing permitless carry.8
  • Arizona experienced a 44% increase in aggravated assaults with a firearm in the six years after enacting permitless carry in 2010.9
  • Lowering the minimum age to 19 for concealed carry in Missouri was associated with a 7.2% increase in firearm suicide among people aged 19 to 24.10

North Carolinians Overwhelmingly Support Our Current Gun Permitting Law

A 2017 poll found that 89% of North Carolina voters support requiring a permit to carry a concealed handgun in public.11

* In a “shall issue” state, law enforcement does not have discretion to deny a permit to someone who is legally allowed to own a firearm, including people with a history of violent crimes or harassment.12