North Dakota Gun Laws

Different states in the United States have different gun laws. North Dakota gun laws operate on a “Unrestricted” and “Shall Issue” policy.

However, law enforcement does have some discretion when it comes to issuing licenses to anyone they believe might be a danger to self or others. The concealed carry permit in North Dakota is issued at the state level by the attorney general.

North Dakota gun laws permit open carry of handguns for residents with a Concealed Weapon License (CWL) or a valid resident concealed carry license from a state that North Dakota honors for non-residents.

The minimum age for the concealed weapon license is 18 years old.

Conceal carry is defined by the state as a weapon that’s carried in such a manner that’s not discernible by the ordinary observation of a passerby.

North Dakota gun laws allow permitless concealed carry for adult residents that have resided in the state for at least 30 days and are not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm and for non-residents with a valid resident concealed carry license from a state that North Dakota honors.

Anyone carrying under permitless carry must have in their possession their driver’s license or state-issued ID, and must inform law enforcement that they’re in possession of a firearm when approached by a law enforcement officer.

North Dakota concealed carry permit is split into two categories: Class 1 and Class 2 concealed weapon license (CWL). Both licenses are equally valid within North Dakota, but holders of Class 1 license have reciprocity in many more states than those who hold a Class 2 license thanks to the additional testing requirements.

Nonetheless, both CWLs require the completion of a state-certified firearms training course.

North Dakota also issues licenses to full-time active military duty stationed in the state and non-residents with a concealed carry permit from their home state that North Dakota honors.


North Dakota is a Castle Doctrine state and has a “stand your ground” statute where residents do not have a duty to retreat in a place where they’re legally allowed to be at. North Dakota gun laws also provide immunity from civil liability for an individual who uses force as permitted by state law.

Defense of Others

The use of force is justified when used in defense of himself or herself against danger or imminent unlawful bodily injury, sexual assault, or detention by another person. A person is also justified in using force to defend another.

Use of Force in Defense of Premises and Property

Use of force is also justified when used to prevent or terminate an unlawful entry or other trespasses in or upon premises, or damage of property.

Use of Deadly Force

The use of deadly force is permitted, unless the action can be avoided with safety by retreating or another conduct involving minimal interference with the freedom of the individual menaced.

An individual seeking to protect another must try to cause the other individ8al to retreat or comply with the requirements of this provision if safety can be obtained before using deadly force. The person is also not justified in using more force than necessary and appropriate under the circumstances.

Nonetheless, the state has no duty to retreat statute for places where the person is legally allowed to be.

The use of deadly force is justified in the following scenarios:

  • When used in lawful self-defense or defense of others, if such force is necessary to protect him/herself or another against death, serious bodily injury, or commission of a violent felony.
  • When used by an individual in possession or control of a dwelling, place of work, motor vehicle, or an occupied motor home or travel trailer, or by someone who is licensed or privileged to be there, if the force is necessary to prevent the commission of arson, burglary, robbery, or a violent felony and if the use of force other than deadly force would expose any individual to substantial danger or serious bodily injury.

Basics of North Dakota Gun Laws 

What’s the difference between Class 1 and Class 2 licenses?

The only difference between a Class 1 and Class 2 license is the state reciprocity. Both licenses are equally valid within North Dakota but holders of a Class 1 license have reciprocity in many more states than those who hold a Class 2 license thanks to additional testing requirements.

Is permitless firearm carry allowed in North Dakota?

Yes, North Dakota gun laws recognize permitless concealed carry for residents with a valid North Dakota driver’s license or nondriver identification card issued by the department of transportation for at least 30 days.

However, conceal carry is only legal for non-residents with a concealed weapon permit from a state that North Dakota honors.

Is open carry permitted in North Dakota?

Yes, North Dakota permits open carry with a concealed weapon license or a resident permit from a state that ND honours. Any person is also allowed to openly carry an unloaded handgun.

What is the minimum age in North Dakota to get a concealed weapon license?

The state requires applicants to be at least 18 years old to conceal carry in North Dakota.

Do I have a duty to inform a police officer that I’m carrying a concealed firearm?

Yes and no. There is no duty to inform law enforcement officers that you’re carrying a firearm for those with a valid state permit. But those without a license or carry permits will need to inform.

Do I need to undergo a background check when purchasing a firearm?

No, residents with a North Carolina Concealed Weapon License do not need to undergo a background check when purchasing dangerous weapons or assault weapons, but those without a permit will need to do so.

Are “no weapons allowed” signs enforced in North Dakota?

No, North Dakota doe not recognize “no weapons allowed” signs.

Does North Dakota have preemption laws related to conceal carry of firearms?

Yes, North Dakota has preemption of firearm laws relating to the purchase, sale, ownership, possession, registration or licensure of firearms and ammunition in North Dakota.

All such existing municipal ordinances are void and an individual may bring a civil action against a political subdivision for damages as a result of an unlawful ordinance.

Concealed Carry License Information

In order to apply for the license, the applicant must

  • Be at least 18 years old for a Class 2 license and 21 years old for a Class 1 license.
  • Be a resident of North Dakota or on full-time active military duty stationed in North Dakota, or a resident of the North Dakota state with a valid concealed weapon license that the state honours.
  • Have completed the training requirements.
  • Not have been convicted of a felony or crime of violence.
  • Not have been convicted of an offence involving use of alcohol within 3 years from application.
  • Not have been convicted of a misdemeanor offence involving the use of narcotics or other controlled substances within 10 years from application.
  • Not have been convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude
  • Not have been convicted of an offense involving domestic violence
  • Not have been adjudicated by a state or federal court as being mentally incompetent, unless the adjudication has been withdrawn/reversed.
  • Be qualified to purchase and possess a firearm under federal laws.
  • Have satisfactorily completed the Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) application form and successfully pass the criminal history records check conducted by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and FBI.

Fees: $60

Validity: 5 years

Processing Time: 60 Days


Concealed Weapon License Manual:

North Dakota Firearms Training Requirement

North Dakota concealed firearms license requires applicants to complete a testing procedure conducted by a certified test administrator. The applicant for a Class 1 firearm license and renewal must:

  • Participate in classroom instruction that sets forth weapons safety rules and the deadly force law in North Dakota
  • Complete an open-book test based upon a manual
  • Demonstrate familiarity with a firearm or dangerous weapon through certification by a certified instructor, participation in an organized shooting competition or dangerous weapon course training, or possession of a license from another state, or evidence of weapons experience during military service
  • Complete an actual shooting or certified proficiency exercise.
  • Applicants for Class 2 license do not need to undergo so many tests but must be able to successfully complete the open-book test offered for Class 1 firearm license.

License to Carry Application Process

Step 1: All new applicants must complete the required training before application.

Step 2: Decide if you want a Class 1 or Class 2 license. Download and complete the application and print out a copy to mail in or complete it at the testing site, if available.

Step 3: Make an appointment with a test administrator and take a copy of the printed application to the testing appointment. First-time applicants must pass a written, open-book test based on the Concealed Weapons License Manual.

Step 4: Applicants for Class 1 license must also complete classroom instruction, demonstrate familiarity with weapons, and successfully complete a firearms proficiency shooting test.

Step 5: Gather the following documents and submit them to BCI within 30 days of the testing date:

  • Cashier’s check or money payable to “North Dakota Attorney General”
  • Photocopy of drivers license or state iD
  • Two official color passport photos
  • Two fingerprint cards
  • Non-residents must include a copy of a valid conceal carry license from their home state of residence.
  • Non-resident active duty military must include a copy of your PCS orders to North Dakota.

Step 6: Mail the application and all required documents to

P.O. Box 1054
Bismarck ND 58502

Step 6: Wait for the notification on your application status.

Location Restrictions in North Dakota

Areas where you can carry firearms:

Restaurants that serve alcohol, unless posted. Not allowed in bars or bar areas of restaurants.

  • In a vehicle without a permit/license for an individual who is not precluded from possessing a class 2 firearm and weapon license and who has been a resident for at least 30 days with a valid state ID.
  • Roadside rest areas
  • State/national parks, state/national forests, and WMAs

Off-limit areas where guns are not permitted

  • Schools or school-sponsored events on school property
  • Churches or other places of worship
  • Publicly owned or operated buildings.
  • On capitol grounds and in any capitol building.
  • Any part of a liquor establishment that is set aside for the retail sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages.
  • Anywhere outside of your home while intoxicated or under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  • Gaming sites at which bingo is the primary gaming activity.
  • State game refuges.
  • Any place prohibited by federal law.

North Dakota Concealed Weapons Carry Reciprocity With Other States

  • Alabama (resident permits only)
  • Alaska
  • Arizona (resident permits only)
  • Arkansas (resident permits only)
  • Colorado (resident permits only)
  • Delaware (resident permits only)
  • Florida (resident permits only)
  • Georgia (resident permits only)
  • Idaho (resident permits only)
  • Indiana (resident permits only)
  • Iowa (resident permits only)
  • Kansas (resident permits only)
  • Kentucky (resident permits only)
  • Louisiana (resident permits only)
  • Maine (resident permits only)
  • Michigan (resident permits only)
  • Minnesota (resident permits only)
  • Mississippi (resident permits only)
  • Missouri (resident permits only)
  • Montana
  • Nebraska (resident permits only)
  • Nevada (resident permits only)
  • New Hampshire (resident permits only)
  • New Mexico (resident permits only)
  • North Carolina (resident permits only)
  • Ohio (resident permits only)
  • Oklahoma (resident permits only)
  • Pennsylvania (resident permits only)
  • South Carolina (resident permits only)
  • South Dakota (resident permits only)
  • Tennessee (Enhanced permits only)
  • Texas (resident permits only)
  • Utah (resident permits only)
  • Virginia (resident permits only)
  • Washington (resident permits only)
  • West Virginia (resident permits only)
  • Wisconsin (resident permits only)
  • Wyoming

Other States’ Reciprocity With North Dakota

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas (permitless, at least 18 years old)
  • Idaho (permitless, at least 18 years old)
  • Indiana
  • Mississippi (permitless, at least 18 years old)
  • Montana (permitless, at least 18 years old)
  • Nevada (Class 1 only)
  • New Hampshire (permitless, at least 18 years old)
  • North Carolina
  • South Dakota (permitless, at least 18 years old)
  • Vermont (permitless, at least 18 years old)

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