There is no registration of firearms in most of North Carolina, (IIRC, Durham does has a registration requirement), but, to purchase a handgun from an FFl (a licensed gun dealer/store) in North Carolina you will need a pistol purchase permit issued by your sheriff's office.
For you that would be either Mecklenberg or Iredell county (not sure exactly where you are). The permits cost $5 each and often require a five (business) day wait from application (when you turn in the paperwork) to when you pick them up (if they are approved).
The permit applicationscan be found here (Mecklenberg) and here(Iredell)
The exact requirements of each sheriff is different, though they will all run a background check on you (some sheriff's have been known to require references and one sheriff (in eastern NC) requires that those references be law enforcement officers. Neither Mecklenberg nor Iredell seems to have those requirements for the purchase permits.
Since I am in Greensboro, I cannot help you ont he local gunshop, but I am sure others will be glad to chime in...