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What are the Gun Laws in North Dakota?

A Synopsis of State Laws on Purchase, Possession and Carrying of Firearms

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Carry - Handguns

Unless otherwise prohibited by statute, 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.

  • 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 $25. The license fee must be paid before the license is issued.

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 is valid for three years, costs $25, and must be prepared in triplicate with the original sent to the applicant and duplicates sent by mail to the sheriff 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.

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.

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