Know the Laws: North Carolina
UPDATED October 19, 2012
Below is information about state gun laws in North Carolina. A domestic violence protective order or a criminal conviction may make it illegal for an abuser to have a gun. However, in addition to these state-specific laws, there are also federal gun laws that could apply. To fully understand all of the legal protections available, it is important that you also read the Federal Gun Laws pages.
WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you get in touch with a domestic violence advocate in your community for more information on gun laws in your area. Go to the NC Where to Find Help page to find domestic violence organizations and legal help in your area.
The abuser must immediately surrender all firearms to the sheriff. If firearms cannot be surrendered at the time the DVPO is served, the abuser must surrender all firearms within 24 hours of service. The sheriff will store the firearms and other items or contract with a licensed dealer for this service. The sheriff can charge the abuser a reasonable storage fee.*
Failure to surrender all firearms and ammunition, or providing false information about the location of the firearms is a Class H felony.**
* NCGS § 50B-3.1(d)
** NCGS § 50B-3.1(j)
You can call the sheriff or police if you think the abuser is violating state firearm laws. Let them know that either you have a domestic violence protective order against the abuser, or the abuser has been convicted of a felony.
If you believe the abuser is violating federal firearms laws, you should contact the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms to report the violation. There are several field offices located throughout North Carolina.
A local domestic violence organization in your area may also be able to answer your questions and assist you in talking to the necessary law enforcement officials.
Before legally purchasing a gun, all buyers must undergo a criminal background check that is processed through the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NCIS). If the abuser has a qualifying domestic violence protective order against him/her, or has been convicted of a felony, those records should be in the NCIS, which should prevent the abuser from buying a gun. Not all states have automated record keeping systems, making it more difficult to process the criminal background check, and some criminals and abusers do slip through the system.
If the abuser is able to purchase a gun, you can alert the police, and ask that his/her gun be taken away. Generally, it is not a good idea to assume that because the abuser was able to buy a gun, it is legal for him/her to have one. The criminal background check system is not foolproof.
Note: There may also be some loopholes in the law that the abuser can take advantage of. For more information, you can contact a local domestic violence organization in your area.
Anyone who has or buys a gun in violation of a domestic violence protective order in NC that specifically says s/he cannot have a gun is guilty of a class H felony.* For information on the penalty for violating the federal firearm laws, go to Federal Gun Laws page.
* NCGS § 50B-3.1(j)