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North Dakota Gun Laws

Tuesday, April 11, 2017


“All individuals . . . have certain inalienable rights, among which are . . . to keep and bear arms for the defense of their person, family, property, and the state, and for lawful hunting, recreational, and other lawful purposes, which shall not be infringed.”

Gun Laws Overview

Permit to Purchase No No
Registration of Firearms No No
Licensing of Owners No No
Permit to Carry No No

The list and map below are included as a tool to assist you in validating your information.  We have made every effort to report the information correctly, however reciprocity and recognition agreements are subject to frequent change.  The information is not intended as legal advice or a restatement of law and does not include:  restrictions that may be placed on non-resident permits, individuals under the age of 21, qualifying permit classes, and/or any other factor which may limit reciprocity and/or recognition.  For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation.  YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

RECIPROCITY NOTES: These states recognize ONLY North Dakota's CLASS 1 license, not the Class 2 license: Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin: see https://attorneygeneral.nd.gov/public-safety/concealed-weapons-licenses/concealed-weapon-reciprocity. Further, some states have minimum age requirements or do not recognize non-resident licenses for persons who have a license and are under 21 or have a non-resident ND license. Florida prohibits any licensee of reciprocity states who is not 21 years of age or older from carrying a concealed weapon or firearm in Florida, and recognizes only North Dakota resident permits. 

Castle Doctrine Enacted
No-Net Loss No Legislation
Right to Carry Confidentiality Provisions Enacted
Right to Carry in Restaurants Partial Ban
Right To Carry Laws No Permit Required
Right To Carry Reciprocity and Recognition True Reciprocity
Right to Keep & Bear Arms State Constitutional Provisions With Provisions
Concealed Carry Reciprocity
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Click on a State to see the Gun Law Profile


Laws on Purchase, Possession and Carrying of Firearms


A copy of the federal license to sell handguns shall be sent by retail dealers to the chief of police of the city and sheriff of the county in which the dealer is licensed to sell handguns within seven days after receipt of the dealer’s license.


No person in purchasing or securing delivery of a handgun or in applying for a license to carry a handgun concealed may give false information or false evidence of the person’s identity.

It is unlawful to sell a handgun to a minor. However, this does not prohibit a person from lending or giving a handgun to a minor if he or she will be using the handgun under direct supervision of an adult. No person may transfer a handgun to any person who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe is prohibited from possessing a firearm. It is unlawful to supply a firearm or ammunition to, or procure or receive a firearm or ammunition for; a person prohibited from receiving it if the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe that such person is prohibited from receiving or possessing it.


Possession or ownership of a firearm is prohibited by any person convicted anywhere of any felony.  Anyone convicted of a Class A misdemeanor involving violence or intimidation and that crime was committed while using or possessing a dangerous weapon or firearm is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm for five years from the date of conviction or release from incarceration or probation, whichever is the latter; a person diagnosed and confined or committed (by a court of competent jurisdiction) as mentally ill is prohibited from owning or possessing a firearm, but this does not apply to a person who has not suffered from the disability for the previous three years. A person under eighteen may possess a handgun only under direct adult supervision for purposes of firearm safety training, target shooting or hunting. 


It is unlawful to possess or sell a rifle with an overall length under 26 inches and/or a barrel under 16 inches or shotgun with an overall length under 26 inches and/or a barrel under 18 inches with the exception of law enforcement officers or members of the armed forces in official duty capacity, and any person complying with the National Firearms Act.

Possession of a firearm is prohibited in a liquor establishment or gaming site with the exception of law enforcement officers, proprietors and their employees or a designee displaying an unloaded firearm as a prize or sale item in raffle or auction.

At a public gathering it is unlawful to possess a firearm except for law enforcement officers, members of the armed forces (on duty), competitors in shooting events and gun shows, those using blank cartridges in theatrical events, firearms carried in a temporary residence or motor vehicle, students and instructors at hunter safety classes, and on-duty private security personnel.


A loaded firearm may not be carried in a motor vehicle except under several specified exceptions.  A license to carry a concealed firearm can be obtained by applying to the Bureau of Criminal Investigation. 


Loaded Firearms.

No person may keep or carry a loaded firearm in or on any motor vehicle. Exceptions include:

1. Persons possessing a valid North Dakota concealed weapons license, except while that person is in the field engaged in trapping and hunting activities.

2. Any person in the field engaged in lawful hunting or trapping of nongame species or furbearing animals.

3. A security guard or private investigator licensed to carry firearms by the attorney general.

4. Any person possessing a valid special permit.

5. A law enforcement officer, except while the officer is engaged in hunting and trapping activities with a rifle or shotgun.

6. A member of the military while possessing an issued firearm and while on official duty.


Concealed Firearms.

Carrying any firearm concealed is prohibited with the exception of one who is licensed to do so, or is exempted by statute, or is a law enforcement officer. Concealed is defined as “not discernible by the ordinary observation of a passerby.” Concealed does not include: a firearm in a belt holster or gun case if the holster or case is substantially visible or locked in a closed trunk or luggage compartment of a motor vehicle; a firearm carried in a field while lawfully engaged in hunting, target shooting or trapping; a handgun carried unloaded and in a secure wrapper to or from a home, place of business, or repair; an unloaded rifle or shotgun while carried in a motor vehicle.



Handguns may be carried between the hours of one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset only if unloaded and in plain view or secured; between the hours of one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise only if the handgun is carried unloaded and secured. These restrictions do not apply to one who is on his own land or fixed place of business or permanent or temporary residence; possesses a valid North Dakota concealed weapons license; is lawfully engaged in target shooting or in the field and engaged in hunting or trapping; is carrying a handgun in a secure wrapper from the place of purchase to that person’s home or business or to the place of repair; is a North Dakota law enforcement officer or a law enforcement officer from another state on official duty; is an armed security guard or member of the military and is on duty; is an employee of the United States authorized to carry a handgun; is a person engaged in manufacturing, repairing, or dealing in handguns, or the agent of such person possessing, using, or carrying a handgun in the usual or ordinary course of business; and is a common carrier when carrying handguns as a part of the cargo in the usual cargo carrying portion of the vehicle.


License to Carry Concealed.

The chief of the bureau of criminal investigation shall issue a license to carry a firearm concealed upon review of an application if the applicant meets the following criteria:

1. Has a valid reason for carrying the firearm concealed, including self-protection, protection of others, or work related needs.

2. Is not prohibited from possessing a firearm.

3. Has written approval for the issuance of such a license from the sheriff of the applicants county of residence and, if the city has one, the chief of police or designee of the city in which the applicant resides.

4. Satisfactorily completes the bureau of criminal investigation application form and successfully completed a background investigation or the criminal records check conducted by that agency.

The license fee for a concealed weapons license is $45 and must be paid before the license is issued. A license is valid for 5 years if issued after July 1, 2011.

Pending the sheriff’s approval the applicant must successfully complete a background investigation in that county and have attended a testing procedure conducted pursuant to rules adopted by the attorney general. The testing procedure must include an open book test to be given from a manual that sets forth weapon safety rules and the deadly force law of North Dakota. Also included in this testing procedure is a proficiency test consisting of a course of fire. A weapons instructor certified by the attorney general shall conduct the testing procedure to ensure a minimal level of competency in the loading and unloading of the firearm, use of safety devices and basic firearm functioning, and minimal accuracy. A fee of up to fifty dollars may be charged for conducting this test. The sheriff is required to process the application within 30 days after the applicant has successfully completed a proficiency test, the police chief is required to process the application within 10 working days of its receipt, and the bureau of criminal investigation is required to process the application and make a determination within 30 days of receipt from the forwarding agency.

The chief of the bureau of criminal investigation shall prescribe the form of the application and license. Photographs and fingerprints are required. The license application must be prepared in triplicate with the original sent to the applicant and duplicates sent by mail to the sheriff and/or chief of police of the place in which the applicant resides.

Every person while carrying a concealed firearm must produce a license on demand. Failure to do so is evidence that the weapon is being carried illegally.

North Dakota's permitless carry law (effective 8-1-2017) applies only to North Dakota residents who can meet the ID requirements (the person is not otherwise precluded from possessing a Class 2 firearm and dangerous weapon license and has possessed, for at least one year, a valid driver’s license or nondriver identification card issued by the department of transportation): http://www.legis.nd.gov/assembly/65-2017/documents/17-0086-06000.pdf

Machine Guns

No person may possess a machine gun unless he complies with the National Firearms Act. Any federal licensee who purchases, sells, has or possesses a machine gun must forward a copy of the licensee’s federal license along with the required 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 of one who has 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.


Antiques are not addressed in North Dakota law and therefore are treated as any other firearm.


The regulation of firearms and ammunition is entirely preempted by the state legislature.


§  62.1-01-03. Limitation on authority of political subdivision regarding firearms

No political subdivision, including home rule cities or counties, may enact any ordinance relating to the purchase, sale, ownership, transfer of ownership, registration, or licensure of firearms and ammunition which is more restrictive than state law. All such existing ordinances are void.  

Range Protection

N.D. Cent. Code § 42-01-01.1 -- sport shooting ranges 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. 

Miscellaneous Provisions

No political subdivision, including home rule cities or counties, may enact any ordinance relating to the purchase, sale, ownership, transfer, registration, or licensure of firearms and ammunition which is more restrictive than state law.



A firearms manufacturer, distributor, or seller who lawfully 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 another.  A firearm may not be deemed defective on the basis of its potential to cause serious injury, damage, or death when discharged.

It is unlawful to discharge a firearm within a city, with the exception of the lawful discharge of firearms by law enforcement officers, by citizens in defense of person or property, or by participants in lawful activities in which discharge of firearms is a recognized part of the activity including but not limited to shooting galleries and ranges.

It is unlawful for any parent, guardian, or other person having charge or custody of a minor under fifteen years of age to permit 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 lawful 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 a contiguous state and to receive or transport that rifle or shotgun into this state.

No person may change, alter, remove, or obliterate any mark of identification on a handgun or knowingly possess a handgun on which such alterations have been made. Possession of such a handgun creates a rebuttable presumption that the possessor made the alterations.

A person who possesses a firearm at a public gathering is guilty of a class B misdemeanor.  For the purpose of this section, "public gathering" includes athletic or sporting events, schools or school functions, church or church functions, political rallies or functions, 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 apply to federal or state parks.

North Dakota NEWS


Monday, November 10, 2003

Sens. Conrad, Roberts Introduce Outdoor Access Legislation

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Monday, September 15, 2003

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Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty can stay home and save his taxpayers the cost of a trip to visit ...


Tuesday, June 3, 2003

New Gun Carry Law Works

North Dakota`s experience should reassure Minnesotans worried about concealed weapons. A new law easing those rules in Minnesota ...

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Friday, May 1, 1998

Herald, Grand Forks, ND, 10/15/97

After his son alerted him to a gunfight in progress near their home, Michael McIntee of Towner, North ...

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Sunday, December 1, 1991

The Forum, Fargo, ND, 8/10/91

Roger Untersehr credits his dog with alerting him to a break-in at his Fargo, N.D,, home. "The dog ...

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Thursday, September 1, 1988

The Tribune, Bismarck, ND, 6/17/88

With his wife screaming at an intruder hiding in their Bismarck, N. Dak., home, Hal Peterson grabbed an ...

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Sunday, June 1, 1986

The Tribune, Bismarck, ND, 3/26/86

Asleep in his isolated rural home near Fort Yates, N. Dak., Dick Barrett was awakened when both front ...


Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.