If Santa Brings You a Gun… | North Carolina

The following is a video transcript.

What happens if you receive a gun for Christmas in North Carolina? Let’s say you have family over for Christmas. Under your tree you find a box with your name on it from your parents who live out of state. When you open the box, you find your parents have given you a new handgun for Christmas. In North Carolina, you must refuse the gift.

Out-of-State Transfers

Even though the gift is from your parents, under federal law, a person may not transfer a firearm to another person directly unless they are residents of the same state. If you accept the gift, both you and your parents have committed a federal felony, punishable by up to five years in prison and up to a $5,000 fine. The only lawful way a firearm can be legally transferred between two people who live in different states is through a Federal Firearms Licensee (“FFL”). And yes, this includes gifts between family members.

Permits Are Required

In North Carolina, it is unlawful for anyone to receive a handgun as a gift or through a purchase without first obtaining a permit from the sheriff in the county in which they live, unless they possess a valid North Carolina Concealed Carry Permit. If you do not have a Concealed Carry Permit or a permit for the gun, do not accept a gifted firearm until you have obtained a permit.

Transporting Your Firearm

North Carolina is an open carry state. Therefore, even if you do not have a Concealed Carry Permit, you may transport your new gun home in the car, but it must be carried openly and visible, not concealed. Alternatively, the gun may be carried in the trunk or in a closed container that is inaccessible to all passengers in the vehicle. A glove compartment is not a proper place to store your gun if you do not have a Concealed Carry Permit.

Additional Reminders

Also, be careful to not let the gun out of your sight. You do not want the wrong person handling or mishandling your gun. Further, do not re-gift the gun to someone else unless that person has obtained a permit for the gun. Finally, if you receive your gift at a Christmas party and have consumed any alcohol, it is illegal in North Carolina to carry concealed after having any alcohol. You may open carry on your person or in your car after consuming alcohol, but you may not open carry on the premises of any business where alcohol is sold.

If you have any questions regarding being gifted a gun for the holidays, call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to an Independent Program Attorney.


Interested in knowing more? Check out our previous articles “Can I Go to Jail for Gifting a Gun?” and “Giving Guns as Gifts: Doing It Right“.

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Comment section

4 comments on “If Santa Brings You a Gun… | North Carolina

  1. Thank you for this information. I did not know about the law of firearm as a gift.

    I look forward to more videos and information from NC lawyers. We have enough going on that any information is always welcome.

  2. Until you and your parents get to a FFL to complete the Form 4473, the gun is a loaner. You can carry or use it, but you cannot dispose of it.

    OC in a place that serves alcohol is allowed per NCGS 14-269.3 (b)(3). An event with permission of the owner and/host.

  3. Can an 18 year old apply for a pistol purchase permit if a firearm is gifted to them?

    • Hello Andrew,

      Please see a reply from an Independent Program Attorney below:

      He does need to get a permit and he can do that at 18 years old. Most sheriff’s offices have forms on their websites that can be downloaded and filed out. The fee is usually $5 or $10.

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