In 2017, North Dakota enacted “permitless carry” legislation that repealed longstanding protections that had previously required people to obtain a license, pursuant to a background check, in order to carry concealed loaded firearms in public.1
North Dakota law now generally authorizes any person who would otherwise be eligible for a concealed carry permit (known in North Dakota as a “firearm and dangerous weapon license”) to carry concealed firearms in most public spaces without a permit if they have possessed a driver’s license or other ID card issued by the state Dept. of Transportation for at least 30 days.2 (Legislation enacted in 2021 shortened this residency requirement from one year to 30 days).3 North Dakota’s law requires people carrying concealed firearms without a permit to notify any law enforcement officer who stops them that they possess a concealed firearm and to also carry their identification card or a digital image of their ID card with them at all times when carrying concealed firearms.4
However, North Dakota still issues “firearm and dangerous weapon licenses” for people who may wish to obtain them for the purposes of carrying in other states. North Dakota is a “shall issue” state, meaning that local law enforcement must generally issue a license to any applicant who meets minimum qualifications, although state law provides some discretion to law enforcement officers to deny a license to anyone they have reason to believe is or has been a danger to self or others as demonstrated by evidence, including past pattern of behavior involving unlawful violence or threats of unlawful violence, or conviction of a weapons offense.5
Pursuant to North Dakota law, to qualify for a license, an applicant must:
- Be eligible to possess a firearm under state and federal law;
- Be able to demonstrate that they are a resident of North Dakota by providing a copy of a valid driver’s license or state-issued identification card or can demonstrate that they are a resident of another state which state has reciprocity with North Dakota if the individual possesses a valid concealed carry permit from their state of residence;
- Pass a criminal records check conducted by the Bureau of Criminal Investigation and the FBI, after providing all documentation relating to any court-ordered treatment or commitment for mental health or substance abuse or incidents of domestic violence, and providing written authorization for disclosure of mental health or substance abuse evaluation and treatment records.6The Bureau must conduct a statewide and federal criminal history record check for the purpose of determining eligibility for a concealed weapons license for each applicant for an initial license or the renewal of a concealed weapons license. 7
A license may also not be issued to any individual who:
- Has been convicted of a felony;
- Has been convicted of a crime of violence:
- Has been convicted of an offense involving the use of alcohol within the three years preceding the date of application;
- Has been convicted of a misdemeanor offense involving the unlawful use of narcotics or other controlled substances within the ten years preceding the date of application;
- Has been convicted of an offense involving moral turpitude;
- Has been convicted of an offense involving domestic violence;
- Has been adjudicated by a state or federal court as mentally incompetent, unless the adjudication has been withdrawn or reversed; or
- Is disqualified to purchase and possess a firearm under federal law.8
Additional application and background check requirements, as well as permit suspension or disqualification information, are detailed under state law.9
Firearm Safety Training
The applicant must successfully complete a testing procedure conducted by a certified test administrator.10 The person conducting the testing may assess a charge of up to $50 for conducting this testing.11 The attorney general may certify a test administrator based upon criteria and guidelines prescribed by the Director of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.12
The attorney general must offer Class 1 and Class 2 licenses.13 An applicant must be 21 years of age for a Class 1 license, and at least 18 years of age for a Class 2 license.14 An applicant for a Class 1 license must:
- Participate in classroom instruction that sets forth weapon safety rules and the deadly force law of 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 of training, or possession of a license from another state, or evidence of weapons experience during military service; and
- Complete an actual shooting or certified proficiency exercise.15
An applicant for a Class 2 license is only required to successfully complete the open book test offered for the Class 1 license.16
Duration & Renewal
Disclosure or Use of Information
Information collected from an applicant for a concealed weapons license is confidential information.19 However, the information may be disclosed:
- To a governmental agency or court for a law enforcement purpose, including the investigation, prosecution, or punishment of a violation of law.
- To a court to aid in a decision concerning sentence, probation, or release pending trial or appeal.
- Pursuant to a court order or a judicial, legislative, or administrative agency subpoena issued in North Dakota.20
Pursuant North Dakota law, a valid license to carry issued by another state which recognizes the concealed carry licenses of North Dakota is valid in North Dakota.21 People who qualify for reciprocity under this law are authorized to carry concealed firearms in most public spaces in North Dakota.22
For a list of states with which North Dakota has signed formal reciprocity agreements, see the North Dakota Permit Reciprocity page, maintained by the North Dakota Attorney General.
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- See 2017 ND H 1169 and N.D. Cent. Code, § 62.1-04-02. Pursuant to state law, a firearm is considered “concealed” if if it is not secured, and is worn under clothing or carried in a bundle that is held or carried by the individual, or transported in a vehicle under the individual’s control or direction and available to the individual, including beneath the seat or in a glove compartment. N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-04-01.
A firearm that falls within this definition of “concealed” is still not considered “concealed” if it is: 1) carried in a belt holster which is wholly or substantially visible or carried in a case designed for carrying a firearm and which is wholly or substantially visible; 2) locked in a closed trunk or luggage compartment of a motor vehicle; 3) carried in the field while lawfully engaged in hunting, trapping, or target shooting, whether visible or not; 4) carried by any person permitted by law to possess a handgun unloaded and in a secure wrapper from the place of purchase to that person’s home or place of business, or to a place of repair, or back from those locations; or 5) a bow and arrow, rifle, shotgun, unloaded handgun, or a weapon that will expel, or is readily capable of expelling, a projectile by the action of a spring, compressed air, or compressed gas including any such weapon commonly referred to as a BB gun, air rifle, or CO2 gun, while carried in a motor vehicle.
- Id.; N.D. Cent. Code §§ 62.1-03-01(2), 62.1-04-02(2).
- See 2021 ND HB 1293.
- N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-04-04.
- N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-04-03(1)(e).
- N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-04-03.
- N.D. Cent. Code § 12-60-24.
- N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-04-03(1)(c).
- N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-04-03, and N.D. Admin. Code r. 10-12-01-01 through 10-12-01-11.
- N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-04-03(1)(d).
- N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-04-03(2).
- N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-04-03(1)(e).
- N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-04-03(2).
- N.D. Cent. Code § N.D. Cent. Code, § 62.1-04-03(6).
- N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-04-03(9).
- N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-04-03.1.
- N.D. Cent. Code § 62.1-04-02(3); 62.1-03-01(2)(a).