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North Carolina law prohibits any person under the age of 18 from willfully and intentionally possessing or carrying a handgun, unless the minor:

  • Possesses the handgun for educational or recreational purposes while supervised by an adult who is present;
  • Is emancipated and possesses the handgun inside his or her residence; or
  • Possesses the handgun while hunting outside the limits of an incorporated municipality and has written permission from a parent or guardian.1

There is no minimum age to possess rifles and shotguns in North Carolina.

It is a misdemeanor in North Carolina for any person to knowingly permit a child under age 12 to have access to, or possession, custody, or use in any manner of any firearm, whether loaded or unloaded, unless the person has the permission of the child’s parent or guardian, and the child is under the supervision of an adult.2

Additionally, North Carolina prohibits any person from causing, encouraging, or aiding a minor who is less than age 18 to possess or carry, whether openly or concealed, any firearm on educational property.3 Moreover, subject to very limited exceptions, North Carolina imposes a felony on any person who sells, offers for sale, gives or transfers a handgun to a person under the age of 18.4

Federal age restrictions impose stricter limits.


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  1. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-269.7.[]
  2. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-316(a).[]
  3. N.C. Gen. Stat. §14-269.2(c).[]
  4. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-315.[]