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WEST VIRGINIA GUN LAWS

The Concealed Carry Guide

This guide will show you everything you need to know about owning a handgun in West Virginia.

Learn the facts on West Virginia gun laws, reciprocity and the concealed handgun license (CHL).

Sound good? Lets dive right in…

West Virginia gun laws are some of the least restrictive in the USA. West Virginia is one of the growing number of constitutional carry states with no requirement to have a licence to carry a firearm provided the person is at least 18 years old and is legally entitled to have a firearm under state and federal law. To conceal carry without a license a person must be 21 years or older. If an 18 – 20 year old wishes to conceal carry they would require a Provisional CHL license. However, they are allowed to open carry without a CHL license. If you need to travel out of state then you can still obtain a concealed handgun license provided you are a resident of West Virginia.

West Virginia CHL Quick Facts

TOTAL ACTIVE CCW
0
LICENSES IN WEST VIRGINIA
Gun Laws
STATE RATING
Good
STATES THAT HONOR
0
A WV LICENSE
STATE PERMITS
0
WV HONORS
STATES NOT
0
HONORING PERMIT

West Virginia CHL Reciprocity

Created with Raphaël 2.0.1ALAK AZ ARCACOCTDEDCFLGAHIIDILINIAKSKYLAMEMDMAMIMNMSMOMTNENVNHNJNMNYNCNDOHOKORPARISCSDTNTXUTVTVAWAWVWIWY
Permit Honored
Permit not honored
Residential permits only
Issuing state

How Reciprocity Works in West Virginia

West Virginia honors non-resident and resident CCW licenses from states that are on the West Virginia reciprocity list provided the licensee is 21 years or older. However, the honoring of out-of-state CCW licenses does not matter anymore as West Virginia is a permitless carry state. This in effect means any person who is 21 or older, and can legally possess a firearm may now carry a concealed weapon without any type of license.

West Virginia Reciprocity State's

36
STATES

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

34
STATES
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming
13
STATES & DISTRICTS

California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington.

Districts & Territories
District of Columbia

West Virginia CHL License

West Virginia Issue Policy

Unrestricted, Shall Issue

Permit Issued To

Residents, Non-residents

CHL LICENSE OVERVIEW

Despite West Virginia being a constitutional carry state (permitless), concealed carry licenses can still be obtained for those that want to travel to other states. A “Shall Issue” policy is still in effect for any person that applies for a CHL license.

Two types of licenses are issued;

  • Provisional license – For any person aged from 18 – 21. The license is valid for 3 years but expires when the licensee turns 21 years old.
  • Optional License – Issued for 5 years to any person who meets the criteria and is at least 21 years old.
NON-RESIDENT LICENSES


West Virginia does not issue non-resident licenses.

HANDGUN TRAINING

To apply for an optional or provisional CHL, you must present evidence that you have successfully completed one of the following training courses:

  1. Any official NRA handgun safety or training course;
  2. Any handgun safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by an official law enforcement organization, community college, junior college, college or private or public institution or organization or handgun training school utilizing instructors certified by the institution;
  3. Any handgun safety or training course or class conducted by a handgun instructor certified by the State or by the NRA; or
  4. For optional CHLs only, any handgun training or safety course or class conducted by any branch of the United States military, reserve or National Guard or proof of other handgun qualification received while serving in any branch of the United States military, reserve or National Guard. For provisional CHLs, any proof of current or former service in the United States armed forces, reserves or National Guard. An applicant must present a photocopy of a certificate of course completion, an affidavit from the instructor, or some other document which verifies successful completion of the required training course in order to obtain a CHL. The document must include the instructor’s name, signature and NRA or state instructor identification number, if applicable.

COST OF

$ 0
CWW PERMIT

YEARS PERMIT

0
IS VALID

West Virginia CHL Forms

Download Your Forms

West Virginia: Places Off-Limits for CHL

West Virginia state flag

Places Off-Limits in West Virginia

  • The State Capitol Complex
  • Regional jails, detention facilities or State Division of Corrections facilities
  • County courthouses or any facility housing a court of this state
  • A school bus or any public primary or secondary education building, structure, facility or grounds including a vocational education building, structure, facility or grounds where secondary vocational education programs are conducted or at a school-sponsored function, or in or on a private primary or secondary education building, structure or facility
  • Any building or area limited by municipal code. Certain municipalities may have further handgun restrictions in municipal code. Before carrying a weapon in a West Virginia municipality, it is recommended that you inquire as to such laws with the appropriate city attorney’s office
  • Any property where firearms are prohibited by the owner, lessee or other person charged with the care, custody and control of the real property
  • Wherever signs are posted indicating weapon restrictions
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law. 

Places Allowed in West Virginia

  • State parks
  • State and national forests
  • Road side rest areas
  • Vehicle
  • All areas of the state – except those listed as off limits

Pointers: West Virginia Gun Laws

West Virginia Concealed Carry Laws

West Virginia state capitol building

West Virginia Gun Laws To Know

YES – WITHOUT A LICENSE

There is no requirement for a CHL license to carry a firearm in a vehicle provided the person is at least 21 years old, a US citizen and is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under state and federal laws.

Members of the military aged 18 and over can carry in a vehicle with only their military ID.

From the State Police website – It is strongly recommended that, if you do not have a valid concealed carry permit, while traveling in a vehicle, that all firearms be unloaded and cased in a location in the vehicle that is not readily accessible to any of the occupants. Any ammunition should be stored in a separate location from the firearm.

YES – WITHOUT A LICENSE

Open carry is legal in West Virginia without a license, but not in places listed as off-limits. Municipalities can enforce ordinances that ban the open carry of firearms in recreation facilities owned by the municipality.

The minimum age for open carry is 18.

NO – MUST INFORM OFFICER

There is nothing in West Virginia gun laws that states you must inform a law enforcement officer you have a firearm when approached on official business. There is also no mention that you must carry your permit/license.

GunsToCarry always recommends that you carry your permit, together with photo ID, at all times during which you are in actual possession of a concealed handgun.

The Law
61.7.6a

YES

West Virginia is a constitutional carry state, no CCW license is required if the person is legally able to possess a firearm.

YES

You are permitted to carry in the following areas;

  • State Parks:       YES – 20.2.5 & WVDNR – Must be concealed and no long guns, unless hunting.
  • State/National Forests:     YES
  • State Wildlife Management Areas:     YES
  • Road Side Rest Areas:     YES
YES


In Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

“Yes” or “No” states if you can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Some restaurants may be posted with “NO GUN” signs. Check with the staff if this means just the bar area. If we have indicated a “Yes” then it should be legal to have a meal without drinking alcohol.

NO

“No Weapons” signs are not mentioned in West Virginia gun laws. There are no legal penalties for entering a private property or business that has posted these signs. They have no force of law unless they are posted in areas that are mentioned by the law as being off limits.

GunsToCarry recommends that you do not enter a property displaying a “No Weapons” sign whether the law is for or against signage. If asked to leave a property and you refuse to do so then you are breaking the law and put yourself at risk of being charged.

“A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home, and state, and for lawful hunting and recreational use.”
(Art. 3, Section 22)

West Virginia Off-Limit Statutes

Possessing Deadly Weapons on Premises of Educational Facilities; Reports by School Principals; Suspension of Driver’s License; Possessing Deadly Weapons on Premises Housing Courts of Law and Family Law Courts.

(a) The Legislature finds that the safety and welfare of the citizens of this state are inextricably dependent upon assurances of safety for children attending and persons employed by schools in this state and for persons employed by the judicial department of this state. It is for the purpose of providing assurances of safety that §61-7-11a(b), §61-7-11a(g), and §61-7-11a(h), of this code and §61-7-11a(b)(2)(I) of this code are enacted as a reasonable regulation of the manner in which citizens may exercise the rights accorded to them pursuant to section 22, article III of the Constitution of the State of West Virginia

(b) (1) It is unlawful to possess a firearm or other deadly weapon:

  • (A) On a school bus as defined in §17A-1-1 of this code;
  • (B) In or on the grounds of any primary or secondary educational facility of any type: Provided, That it shall not be unlawful to possess a firearm or other deadly weapon in or on the grounds of any private primary or secondary school, if such institution has adopted a written policy allowing for possession of firearms or other deadly weapons in the facility or on the grounds thereof;
  • (C) At a school-sponsored function that is taking place in a specific area that is owned, rented, or leased by the West Virginia Department of Education, the West Virginia Secondary Schools Activities Commission, a county school board, or local public school for the actual period of time the function is occurring.

(2) This subsection does not apply to:

(I) Any person, 21 years old or older, who has a valid concealed handgun permit may possess a concealed handgun while in a motor vehicle in a parking lot, traffic circle, or other areas of vehicular ingress or egress to a public school: Provided, That:

  • (i) When he or she is occupying the vehicle the person stores the handgun out of view from persons outside the vehicle; or
  • (ii) When he or she is not occupying the vehicle the person stores the handgun out of view from persons outside the vehicle, the vehicle is locked, and the handgun is in a glove box or other interior compartment, or in a locked trunk, or in a locked container securely fixed to the vehicle.

(3) A person violating this subsection is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned in a state correctional facility for a definite term of years of not less than two years nor more than 10 years, or fined not more than $5,000, or both fined and imprisoned.

Willful disruption of governmental processes; offenses occurring at State Capitol Complex; penalties

(b) It is unlawful for any person to bring upon the State Capitol Complex any weapon as defined in section two, article seven of this chapter: Provided, That a person who holds a valid, current concealed weapons permit issued by a sheriff of this state or the appropriate authority of another jurisdiction may keep a firearm in his or her motor vehicle upon the State Capitol Complex if the vehicle is locked and the weapon is out of normal view. It is unlawful for any person to willfully deface any trees, wall, floor, stairs, ceiling, column, statue, monument, structure, surface, artwork or adornment in the State Capitol Complex. It is unlawful for any person or persons to willfully block or otherwise willfully obstruct any public access, stair or elevator in the State Capitol Complex after being asked by a law-enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity to desist: Provided, That, in order to preserve the constitutional right of the people to assemble, it is not willful blocking or willful obstruction for persons gathered in a group or crowd if the persons move to the side or part to allow other persons to pass by the group or crowd to gain ingress or egress: Provided, however, That this subsection does not apply to a law-enforcement officer acting in his or her official capacity.

Any person who violates this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $100 or confined in jail not more than six months, or both.

From the law guide “On The Mark” by the Attorney General

  1. Federal government properties or other places where firearms are prohibited by federal law. This includes areas of restricted access in airports.
  2. Any property where firearms are prohibited by the owner, lessee or other person charged with the care, custody and control of the real property.*
  3. The State Capitol Complex. 4. Regional jails, detention facilities or State Division of Corrections facilities.
  4. County courthouses or any facility housing a court of this state.
  5.  Any Public or Private primary or secondary school building, grounds or property, at any school sponsored function or on any school bus or conveyance.
  6. Any building or area limited by municipal code. (See Municipalities Below)

*While it is not a crime, when armed, to enter property where firearms are prohibited by the owner, lessee or other person charged with care, custody and control thereof, refusal to relinquish the weapon or refusal to leave the premises upon request while in possession of a firearm or other deadly weapon is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one thousand dollars and/or up to six months in jail. There is no requirement in the law that such property be posted as a “no gun” area. The provisions of this section only apply to property where firearms are not otherwise prohibited by law.

Other West Virginia Statutes

… Right of Nonprohibited Persons Over Twenty-One Years of Age to Carry Concealed Deadly Weapons …

(a) Except as provided in this section, no person shall possess a firearm, as such is defined in section two of this article, who:

  1. Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year;
  2. Is habitually addicted to alcohol;
  3. Is an unlawful user of or habitually addicted to any controlled substance;
  4. Has been adjudicated to be mentally incompetent or who has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution pursuant to the provisions of chapter twenty-seven of this code or in similar law of another jurisdiction: Provided, That once an individual has been adjudicated as a mental defective or involuntarily committed to a mental institution, he or she shall be duly notified that they are to immediately surrender any firearms in their ownership or possession: Provided, however, That the mental hygiene commissioner or circuit judge shall first make a determination of the appropriate public or private individual or entity to act as conservator for the surrendered property;
  5. Is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the United States;
  6. Has been discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions;
  7. Is subject to a domestic violence protective order

(c) Any person may carry a concealed deadly weapon without a license therefor who is:

  1. At least twenty-one years of age;
  2. A United States citizen or legal resident thereof;
  3. Not prohibited from possessing a firearm under the provisions of this section; and
  4. Not prohibited from possessing a firearm under the provisions of 18 U. S. C. §922(g) or (n).

Provisional license to carry deadly weapons; how obtained. (18-20 Years Old)

(a) Any person who is between eighteen and twenty-one years of age and who desires to obtain a state license to carry a concealed deadly weapon shall apply to the sheriff of his or her county for a provisional license, and pay to the sheriff, at the time of application, a fee of $25, (+$15 when picking up the permit) for a total of $40.) of which $5 of that amount shall be deposited in the Courthouse Facilities Improvement Fund created by section six, article twenty-six, chapter twenty-nine of this code. Concealed weapons permits may only be issued for pistols or revolvers. Each applicant shall file with the sheriff a complete application, as prepared by the superintendent of the West Virginia State Police

License to carry deadly weapons; how obtained.

(12) (d) All persons applying for a license must complete a training course in handling and firing a handgun. The successful completion of any of the following courses fulfills this training requirement:

  1. Any official National Rifle Association handgun safety or training course;
  2.  Any handgun safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by an official law-enforcement organization, community college, junior college, college or private or public institution or organization or handgun training school utilizing instructors duly certified by the institution;
  3.  Any handgun training or safety course or class conducted by a handgun instructor certified as such by the state or by the National Rifle Association;
  4. Any handgun training or safety course or class conducted by any branch of the United States Military, Reserve or National Guard.

Limitations upon municipalities’ power to restrict the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, transport, sale and storage of certain weapons and ammunition.

(a) Except as provided by the provisions of this section and the provisions of section five of this article, neither a municipality nor the governing body of any municipality may, by ordinance or otherwise, limit the right of any person to purchase, possess, transfer, own, carry, transport, sell or store any revolver, pistol, rifle or shotgun or any ammunition or ammunition components to be used therewith nor to so regulate the keeping of gunpowder so as to directly or indirectly prohibit the ownership of the ammunition in any manner inconsistent with or in conflict with state law.

(b) For the purposes of this section:

  1. “Municipally owned or operated building” means any building that is used for the business of the municipality, such as a courthouse, city hall, convention center, administrative building or other similar municipal building used for a municipal purpose permitted by state law: Provided, That “municipally owned or operated building” does not include a building owned by a municipality that is leased to a private entity where the municipality primarily serves as a property owner receiving rental payments.
  2. “Municipally owned recreation facility” means any municipal swimming pool, recreation center, sports facility, facility housing an after-school program or other similar facility where children are regularly present.

(c)

  1. A municipality may enact and enforce an ordinance or ordinances that prohibit or regulate the carrying or possessing of a firearm in municipally owned or operated buildings. (Overruled by Kanawha County Court Ruling 9/21/17.
  2. A municipality may enact and enforce an ordinance or ordinances that prohibit a person from carrying or possessing a firearm openly or that is not lawfully concealed in a municipally owned recreation facility:
  3. A person may keep an otherwise lawfully possessed firearm in a motor vehicle in municipal public parking facilities if the vehicle is locked and the firearm is out of view.

… Right of Nonprohibited Persons Over Twenty-One Years of Age to Carry Concealed Deadly Weapons …

(c) Any person may carry a concealed deadly weapon without a license therefor who is:

  1. At least twenty-one years of age;
  2. A United States citizen or legal resident thereof;
  3. Not prohibited from possessing a firearm under the provisions of this section; and
  4. Not prohibited from possessing a firearm under the provisions of 18 U. S. C. §922(g) or (n).

Reciprocity and Recognition; Out-of-State Concealed Handgun Permits.

(a) Valid out-of-state permit or license to possess or carry a handgun is valid in this state for the carrying of a concealed handgun, if the following conditions are met:

  1. The permit or license holder is 21 years or older;
  2. The permit or license is in his or her immediate possession;
  3. The permit or license holder is not a resident of the State of West Virginia; and,
  4. The Attorney General has been notified by the Governor of the other state that the other state allows residents of West Virginia who are licensed in West Virginia to carry a concealed handgun to carry a concealed handgun in that state or the Attorney General has entered into a written reciprocity agreement with the appropriate official of the other state whereby the state agrees to honor West Virginia concealed handgun licenses in return for same treatment in this state.

(b) A holder of a valid permit or license from another state who is authorized to carry a concealed handgun in this state pursuant to provisions of this section is subject to the same laws and restrictions with respect to carrying a concealed handgun as a resident of West Virginia who is so permitted, and must carry the concealed handgun in compliance with the laws of this state.

(c) A license or permit from another state is not valid in this state if the holder is or becomes prohibited by law from possessing a firearm.

(d) The West Virginia Attorney General shall seek to obtain recognition of West Virginia concealed handgun licenses and enter into and execute reciprocity agreements on behalf of the State of West Virginia with states for the recognition of concealed handgun permits issued pursuant to this article.

(e) The West Virginia State Police shall maintain a registry of states with which the State of West Virginia has entered into reciprocity agreements or which recognize West Virginia concealed handgun licenses on the criminal information network and make the registry available to law-enforcement officers for investigative purposes.

(f) Every twelve months after the effective date of this section, the West Virginia Attorney General shall make written inquiry of the concealed handgun licensing or permitting authorities in each other state as to:

  • (i) Whether a West Virginia resident may carry a concealed handgun in their state based upon having a valid West Virginia concealed handgun permit; and
  • (ii) whether a West Virginia resident may carry a concealed handgun in that state based upon having a valid West Virginia concealed handgun permit, pursuant to the laws of that state or by the execution of a valid reciprocity agreement between the states.

(g) The West Virginia State Police shall make available to the public a “List of States” which have entered into reciprocity agreements with the State of West Virginia or that allow residents of West Virginia who are licensed in West Virginia to carry a concealed handgun to carry a concealed handgun in that state.

Carrying a deadly weapon without license or other authorization by persons under twentyone years of age or persons that are prohibited from possessing firearms under section seven of this article; penalties.

(a) Any person under twenty-one years of age and not otherwise prohibited from possessing firearms under section seven of this article who carries a concealed deadly weapon, without a state license or other lawful authorization established under the provisions of this code, is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 and may be imprisoned in jail for not more than twelve months for the first offense; but upon conviction of a second or subsequent offense, he or she is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be imprisoned in t a state correctional facility not less than one nor more than five years and fined not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000

Emergency Powers of Governor.

(a) The provisions of this section are operative only during the existence of a state of emergency or state of preparedness. The existence of a state of emergency or state of preparedness may be proclaimed by the Governor or by concurrent resolution of the Legislature if the Governor in the proclamation, or the Legislature in the resolution, finds that an attack upon the United States has occurred or is anticipated in the immediate future, or that a natural or man-made disaster of major proportions has actually occurred or is imminent within the state, or that an emergency exists or may be imminent due to a large-scale threat beyond local control, and that the safety and welfare of the inhabitants of this state require an invocation of the provisions of this section.

(b) Any state of emergency or state of preparedness, whether proclaimed by the Governor or by the Legislature, terminates upon the proclamation of the termination by the Governor, or the passage by the Legislature of a concurrent resolution terminating the state of emergency or state of preparedness: Provided, That in no case shall a state of preparedness last longer than thirty days.

(c) So long as a state of emergency or state of preparedness exists, the Governor has and may exercise the following additional emergency powers:

  1. To enforce all laws and rules relating to the provision of emergency services and to assume direct operational control of any or all emergency service forces and helpers in the state;
  2. To sell, lend, lease, give, transfer or deliver materials or perform functions relating to emergency services on terms and conditions he or she prescribes and without regard to the limitations of any existing law and to account to the State Treasurer for any funds received for the property;
  3. To procure materials and facilities for emergency services by purchase, condemnation under the provisions of chapter fifty-four of this code or seizure pending institution of condemnation proceedings within thirty days from the seizing thereof and to construct, lease, transport, store, maintain, renovate or distribute the materials and facilities. Compensation for property so procured shall be made in the manner provided in chapter fifty-four of this code;
  4. To obtain the services of necessary personnel, required during the emergency, and to compensate them for their services from his or her contingent funds or other funds available to him or her;
  5. To provide and compel the evacuation of all or part of the population from any stricken or threatened area within the state and to take steps that are necessary for the receipt and care of the evacuees;
  6. To control ingress and egress to and from a disaster area or an area where large-scale threat exists, the movement of persons within the area and the occupancy of premises therein;
  7. To suspend the provisions of any regulatory statute prescribing the procedures for conduct of state business or the orders, rules of any state agency, if strict compliance therewith would in any way prevent, hinder or delay necessary action in coping with the emergency;
  8. To use available resources of the state and of its political subdivisions that are reasonably necessary to cope with the emergency;
  9. To suspend or limit the sale, dispensing or transportation of alcoholic beverages, explosives and combustibles;
  10. To make provision for the availability and use of temporary emergency housing; and
  11. To perform and exercise other functions, powers and duties that are necessary to promote and secure the safety and protection of the civilian population.

(d) The declaration of a state of preparedness has the same effect as a declaration of a state of emergency for the purposes of the Emergency Management Assistance Compact established in section twenty-two of this article and the Statewide Mutual Aid Systems set forth in section twenty-eight of this article.

(e) The powers granted under this section do not authorize any action that would violate the prohibitions of section nineteen-a of this article.

History Of West Virginia Gun Laws

Learn West Virginia's Gun History
  • 2008

    Castle doctrine is enacted into West Virginia law.
     
  • 2016

    On May 24, 2016 West Virginia became a constitutional carry state requiring no permit to carry a concealed weapon.

West Virginia CHL FAQ's

Concealed carry permits/licenses are issued by the circuit court of the county or city where the applicant resides.

45 Days The application for a concealed carry permit/license must be processed within 45 days of the application being received.

Yes you can open carry but not in off-limit areas.

To purchase a handgun you must be at least 21 years old. For a rifle or shotgun a person must be at least 18 years old.

Both the seller and buyer of a handgun must reside in the state that the transaction occurs. You should keep a record of when the firearm was sold and to whom plus the serial number.

No, firearms are not registered in Virginia, one exception is machine guns.

Non-Resident permits are issued by the Virginia State Police.

A concealed carry permit is not required while carrying a handgun within a vehicle. Provided the handgun is secured within a container within the vehicle. The container does not have to be locked.

West Virginia CCW Contact

Mongolia County Sheriff

Hours


Monday – Friday    9am – 5pm

Saturday                  Closed

Sunday                    Closed

Contact


Address    116 Walnut St.

City            Morgantown, WV 26505

Phone       (304) 291-7260