North Dakota Gun Laws

Gun Laws in North Dakota

Like many other states, North Dakota has been deemed a “shall issue” state in regards to concealed carrying. Permits are to be issued to applicants who qualify to receive concealed weapons permits through North Dakota’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

North Dakota LawsIt is the state’s prerogative to insure that firearms are only handled by those with the means to control them. This limits the certain individuals from qualification, such as minors, the mentally ill, and those who have been convicted of felonies.

North Dakota preempts any political subdivisions from enacting ordinances towards selling, owning, purchasing, transferring, licensing, or registering any kind of ammunition or firearm. This is often much more restrictive than the provided state law.

Under North Dakota law the distributors of, the manufacturers of, and the sellers of firearms are not to be held liable in cases where injury has been sustained due to the misuse of a firearm towards another individual. These individuals may however be sued for contract breaching, for warrant breaching, or for defects from poor designing or manufacturing.

North Dakota is bordered to the north by Canada, the south by South Dakota, the west by Montana, and the east by Minnesota. It is the third least-populous state in the United States, and agriculture is its largest economic industry. Open carry is legal in North Dakota with a valid license to carry, but You can carry an unloaded handgun without a license during daylight hours, or at any time on Your property.

North Dakota Concealed Carry

To qualify for a concealed weapons permit in North Dakota, a written exam must first be passed and an application submitted to the correct law enforcement. Local law enforcement agencies will then conduct background checks and present the information to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. This kind of firearm permit is only valid for a three-year time period.

Concealed weapons permits are required to transport any kind of loaded shotgun, rifle, or handgun in a motor vehicle. Despite being permitted to carry a concealed weapon, the permit does not allow a concealed weapon to be prohibited inside an alcohol-serving establishment, a site of gaming, on school property, on church property, at sporting events, at political rallies, at concerts, or in any kind of public building. The only individuals with this authorization are those who are permitted through local law and law enforcement officials.

Constitutional Carry

North Dakota residents who are over the age of 18 and legally permitted to possess a firearm may carry a handgun openly or concealed without a permit. North Dakota’s Permitless Carry Law only applies to North Dakota residents who have possessed a valid North Dakota driver’s license or non-driver identification card for a minimum of 1 year.

Permitted Firearms

The state of North Dakota does not require permits to be obtained before rifles, shotguns, and handguns are to be purchased. The registration of shotguns and rifles is also unnecessary, however it is illegal to not register a handgun. Owners do not need to be licensed to own shotguns or rifles. Permits are also not needed to carry shotguns or rifles. All concealed handguns must be accompanied by a permit, however.

Self-defense Laws

North Dakota has a Castle Doctrine but no SYG law. There is no duty to retreat when in Your dwelling. You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, the commission of a forcible felony, or if necessary to protect Your dwelling, place of business, or occupied motor home from arson, burglary, robbery, or other forcible felonies.

Firearm Possession

An individual who has been convicted of a violent felony offense is not allowed to possess firearms until his or her rights have been restored. These Constitutional rights may be restored ten years after the individual has been released from prison or ten years after probation has finished. Rights are restored from whichever date comes second. Those convicted of misdemeanors in the Class A category, which involve intimidation and violence through a deadly weapon, will also be prohibited from possession firearms. This right may be restored five years after a release from jail or five years after the termination of probation, whichever comes second.

Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

North Dakota permits anyone who may legally possess a firearm to carry it in a vehicle without a permit, openly or concealed, so long as the firearm is unloaded. A carry permit is generally required to carry a loaded firearm in a vehicle.

Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes. North Dakota has no laws prohibiting the carrying of firearms in restaurants that serve alcohol. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then it is suggested that You not carry into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant – You are prohibited from carrying into these areas. You can carry Your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but You are prohibited from carrying while You consume alcohol or are under the influence of alcohol.

Open Carry

Open carry is legal, but non-residents must have a valid permit/license to carry a concealed handgun that North Dakota issues or honors in order to open carry. North Dakota residents who have been a resident of North Dakota for at least one year can carry without a permit. Open carry of long guns is generally permitted. Non-permit holders may carry one hour before sunrise until one hour after sunset, provided the firearm is unloaded and in plain sight. The minimum age for open carry is 18.

Background Checks

A person acquiring a handgun must have either a permit to purchase a handgun or a concealed handgun permit. A background check is required to obtain either of these permits. A background check is not required for the sale of long guns.

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, North Dakota will recognize another state’s license to carry if that state recognizes North Dakota’s license:

“A person who has a valid license issued by another state to carry a concealed firearm or dangerous weapon in that state and whose state grants to residents of this state the right to carry a concealed firearm or dangerous weapon without requiring a separate license to carry a concealed firearm or dangerous weapon issued by that state may carry, subject to the provisions of this state’s law, a concealed firearm or dangerous weapon in this state, and the other state’s license is valid in this state.”

Non-residents must have a valid concealed weapons license from their home state, which is determined by their driver’s license and the state must have reciprocity with North Dakota. Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the North Dakota State Police at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur. States add and delete states with reciprocity agreements over time.

Criminal Provisions

Under North Dakota law, a license to carry a handgun is not valid in any of the following places or circumstances, whether it is issued by North Dakota, or a person is carrying pursuant to a reciprocity agreement between his or her state of license and North Dakota:

  • In a government building
  • A gaming (gambling) establishment
  • At a public gathering, which includes:
    • Athletic or sporting events
    • Schools or school functions, except college students or employees with a valid license may keep a firearm in a locked vehicle on campus
    • Churches or church functions, except with permission
    • Political rallies or functions
  • Publicly owned and operated buildings
  • MGs must be registered with the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the county sheriff

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