Can You Shoot on Your Property in North Carolina?

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Recreational or target shooting has become quite a popular sport for North Carolina residents. However, there are rules and enforceable legal restrictions that you must follow when engaging in gun shooting activities. Which leads us to the question, can you shoot on your property in North Carolina?

The rules and regulations that you follow depend on the local and county ordinances in North Carolina.

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Some rural areas are more densely populated than others and as such, they are likely to have more restrictions on where and under which circumstances you can fire your weapons.

Be sure to always adhere to these rules when engaging in recreational firearm shooting.

Can You Shoot on Your Property in North Carolina?

Yes, shooting on your property in North Carolina is allowed as long as you are not within the city limits and are at least 250 meters away from the road or occupied buildings or homes.

You must ensure you are far away from neighboring dwellings and utility infrastructures such as electric power lines, water towers, and many more.

Some North Carolina municipalities and counties do not have regulations or laws on the books. However, you are still required to follow State, Provincial, and Federal Law.

A man aiming a shotgun to the sky in an open field

Discharge of Firearms or Weapons

According to the gun laws of North Carolina, shooting or discharge of firearms within the corporate limits of the city.

No firearms should be used within the city limits whether a rifle, gun, pistol, spring gun, air rifle, or compressed air rifle, or any weapon that discharges or impels bullets or pellets with force.

This simply means that if your residential area is within the city limits, then you are not allowed to use any type of weapon there for leisure shooting.

Additionally, it is illegal to fire a gun that is 50 meters or feet from a public road or 250 meters from an occupied building or residence.

There are also restrictions regarding specific locations such as streets, driveways, and parking lots or learning institutions. Therefore, before target shooting on your property, you must determine where your home is situated in proximity to these.

What Guns Are Illegal In North Carolina?

North Carolina allows legal permanent residents and American citizens who are above 21 years to purchase any type of gun they want. People who are above 18 years can purchase shotguns and rifles, but not handguns.

Furthermore, people who are not yet old enough to purchase guns on their own can still use other people’s guns in specific circumstances, for example, underage children who have permission from their parents.

A shotgun producing smoke

It is a common misconception in the North Carolina State that highly dangerous weapons such as sawed-off shotguns, machine guns, or other “weapons of mass destruction” are illegal to possess for people who are outside the military.

However, it is legal to purchase these weapons as long as you have a valid National Firearms Act (NFA) permit that needs background checks and extra fees.

An NFA permit will also allow North Carolina residents to purchase otherwise illegal gun attachments such as suppressors and silencers, or shoulder stocks for their pistols. Unlike some states, North Carolina does not have laws that prohibit magazines that hold a specified number of bullets.

Damage to Property or Life

Property owners who want to target shoot on their land must take the legal restrictions, especially if they are living in a densely populated neighborhood.

However, if you have over 5,000 acres of land and you are target shooting in the middle of your property, you can do so without limitations, as long as you remember the rules for firearm safety.

Following set guidelines is important because if a bullet leaves your home and hits something like a pet animal or a human being, you may end up in jail and your rights to fire your gun again will be taken away.

Keep in mind that your defense argument of shooting on your own property will not hold up in any court. In most jurisdictions, you will still go to prison for involuntary manslaughter.

Furthermore, you may end up getting a longer sentence if you are found negligent. Therefore, you must take all necessary precautions to ensure that your leisure shooting on your North Carolina property does not break the law in any way.

A man holding a sniper beside a tree


Target shooting is an enjoyable sport for many people, and aside from visiting gun ranges in North Carolina, what better way to enjoy it than within the confines of your property?

However, you must ensure that you remember how to handle your firearms safely and that you are operating within the gun laws of North Carolina to avoid getting yourself into trouble.

Before you start shooting on your North Carolina property, take the time to check your local municipal office, county offices, and state authorities for bylaws on target shooting in residential properties.

James Forrester is a lifelong gun and firearms owner, and an even bigger advocate for gun safety. He created KeepGunsSafe.com with the purpose of sharing helpful tips and educating others on how to keep guns and weapons safe and secure.