West Virginia Gun Laws

west virginia gun laws

West Virginia Gun Laws are based on the Article 3, Section 22 of West Virginia’s State Constitution which reads, “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.”

Like the majority of states in the USA, a permit to purchase, registration and licensing of firearm owners are not required. However, carrying a handgun outside one’s residence or outside one’s own place business requires a permit to carry.

Validity of Permits Issued Under West Virginia Gun Laws in Other Jurisdictions

The following states honor permits issued under West Virginia Gun Laws:

  1. Alabama
  2. Alaska
  3. Arizona
  4. Arkansas
  5. Colorado
  6. Delaware
  7. Florida
  8. Georgia
  9. Idaho
  10. Indiana
  11. Iowa
  12. Kansas
  13. Kentucky
  14. Louisiana
  15. Michigan
  16. Mississippi
  17. Missouri
  18. Montana
  19. Nebraska
  20. Nevada
  21. New Mexico
  22. North Carolina
  23. North Dakota
  24. Ohio
  25. Oklahoma
  26. Pennsylvania
  27. South Carolina
  28. South Dakota
  29. Tennessee
  30. Texas
  31. Utah
  32. Vermont
  33. Virginia
  34. Wisconsin (only permits issued after June 8, 2012 are accepted)
  35. Wyoming

On the other hand, permits issued from the following states are recognized by West Virginia Gun Laws:

  1. Alaska
  2. Arizona
  3. Arkansas
  4. Colorado
  5. Delaware
  6. Florida
  7. Georgia
  8. Idaho
  9. Indiana
  10. Kansas
  11. Kentucky
  12. Louisiana
  13. Michigan
  14. Mississippi
  15. Missouri
  16. Nebraska
  17. New Mexico
  18. North Carolina
  19. North Dakota
  20. Ohio
  21. Oklahoma
  22. Pennsylvania
  23. South Carolina
  24. South Dakota
  25. Tennessee
  26. Texas
  27. Utah
  28. Virginia
  29. Wyoming

Key Provisions of West Virginia Gun Laws

In addition to the general requirements stated in the first section of this article, here are the other rules and regulations enumerated under West Virginia Gun Laws:

1. Transfers between private individuals are not required to undergo a background check but the restrictions mentioned under federal and state laws still apply.

2. The following individuals are prohibited from possessing or controlling a firearm:

  • A person convicted of a crime that carries a penalty of more than one year of imprisonment.
  • An individual who has been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
  • Someone with an illegal alien status.
  • A person with an addiction to illegal or controlled substances such as alcohol or drugs.
  • Anyone who is a subject to a court order or decision that bars him from possession or acquiring a firearm.
  • A person considered as a threat to the safety of others or to himself.

3. Possessing a handgun outside one’s residence or place of business is prohibited without a license to carry.

4. The following can carry a handgun without a permit issued by the State:

  • A law enforcement official on duty
  • A member of a recognized target shooting club
  • Circuit judge
  • Correction personnel on duty
  • A licensed hunter
  • Someone with a handgun permit to carry from any state recognized by West Virginia Gun Laws
  • A person transporting an unloaded firearm in between his home, shooting range, place of repair, place of purchase, hunting area, or place of business.

5. It is unlawful to possess a firearm in schools, school vehicles, private properties where carrying a firearm if not allowed by the owner, lessee or custodian, or places expressly prohibited by federal laws. However, law enforcement officers on duty, or persons authorized by law or by appropriate authorities to carry firearms in the discharge of their duties are exempted from this restriction.

6. When transporting a firearm within the areas allowed by law, aside from being unloaded, it should be stored in a secure container. This rule does not apply to a person with the appropriate permit to carry or an individual allowed by law to carry a loaded firearm in his line of duty.

7. The possession, acquisition, transport or trade of a machine gun is prohibited unless it complies with all the requirements of federal laws.

8. The offensive display of a firearm, or carrying it in a manner that would cause or threaten a breach in the peace is illegal. This applies regardless if the person doing so is carrying a permit or not.

Permit to Carry Requirements

A person who wishes to apply for a handgun permit to carry must fulfill the requirements of West Virginia Gun Laws. These are:

1. He must be a resident of West Virginia.

2. He has to be at least 21 years old.

3. Does not possess any of the disqualifying factors mentioned in the number 2 item of the preceding section.

4. Must be able to display or prove mental and physical competence in handling a handgun.

5. Should not have any pending criminal charges in the court of law.

6. Should not be under probation, parole or serving confinement.

7. The applicant should not have prior adjudication that declares him as mentally incompetent.

8. Must be able to successfully complete the prescribed firearms training course from any State-recognized training institution.

9. The person must completely fill-up all the forms, provide all the supporting documents required, and pay the necessary fees.


West Virginia Gun Laws restrict the political subdivisions of the State from passing laws or ordinances that limit the right of any person to trade, acquire, carry or transport firearms or ammunition.

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