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West Virginia Gun Laws

West Virginia has very permissive gun laws. The state constitution affirms the right to keep and bear arms. Lawfully obtaining a firearm is very straightforward in West Virginia, and there are very few hardware restrictions in place. There is no type of licensing or registration requirement for owning a firearm, and West Virginia is a ‘shall issue’ state for concealed carry licenses.

West Virginia Gun Laws at a Glance

Concealed Carry Premit Required No
Open Carry Premitted Yes
Waiting period before purchasing No
Lost and Stolen Firearm Reporting No
Firearms License Required for Purchasing No
Universal Background Check No
Firearm Registration No
Large Capacity Magazine Ban No

Firearm License Requirements

No type of license is required to obtain a firearm in West Virginia.

Background Checks

West Virginia has no law requiring background checks on purchasers buying from private sellers. Pursuant to federal law, background checks are required on any firearms purchases from licensed dealers. In West Virginia, these background checks are processed directly through the FBI.

Gun Shows

West Virginia does not regulate gun shows.

Hardware and Ammunition Restrictions

Hardware Restrictions
Assault Weapons No restrictions.
50 Caliber Rifles Not restricted
Machine Guns Prohibited unless registered and possessed pursuant with federal regulations.
Large Capacity Magazines Not restricted
Ammunition It is prohibited to transfer ammunition to anyone who is prohibited from possessing it by federal or state law.

Prohibited Persons

Under West Virginia law, no person shall possess a firearm who:

  • Has been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for one year or more
  • Is addicted to alcohol
  • Is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance
  • Has been adjudicated to be mentally incompetent
  • Has been involuntarily committed to a mental institution
  • Is unlawfully in the United States
  • Has been dishonorably discharged from the armed forces
  • Falls within the categories of domestic abusers prohibited from possessing firearms under state law

Prohibited Places

Location Restrictions Exceptions
Schools Firearms are prohibited on school grounds and school buses.
  • Possession of an unloaded firearm in a motor vehicle
  • Leaving an unloaded firearm in a locked motor vehicle
  • Programs or raffles conducted with the approval of the county board of education that include the display of unloaded firearms
Vehicles Unloaded long guns and handguns are permitted in vehicles. None.

Concealed Carry Laws

Notify Officer No
“No Gun” Signs Enforced
In-Vehicle Carry Permitted
Restaurant Carry Permitted
State Park Carry Permitted
While Hunting Permitted

Obtaining a Concealed Carry License

It is legal to concealed carry without a license for some residents. To do so, a person must be a legal US resident or citizen, at least 21 years old, and legally permitted to have a firearm in West Virginia. However, West Virginia still issues concealed carry licenses.

West Virginia is a ‘shall issue’ state, meaning that any applicant who meets certain qualifications must be issued a concealed carry permit.

Requirements for a Concealed Carry License
  • Is 21 years of age or older (provisional permits are available to those between 18 and 21)
  • Is a United States citizen or legal resident, and resident of the state and of the county in which the application is made (this residence shall be proved by a valid driver’s license or another state-issued photo identification)
  • Is not addicted to alcohol or a controlled substance or drug
  • Within three years, has not been subject to residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism or drug treatment
  • Has not had two or more convictions for driving while under the influence or driving while impaired
  • Has not been convicted of a felony, (unless expunged)
  • Has not been convicted of any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence or violence within the previous 5 years
  • Has not been convicted of a misdemeanor offense of assault or battery in which the victim was a current or former spouse, current or former sexual or intimate partner, person with whom the defendant cohabits or has cohabited, a parent or guardian, defendant’s child or ward, or a member of the defendant’s household when the offense was committed
  • Is not under indictment for a felony offense
  • Iis not currently serving a sentence of confinement, parole, probation or other court-ordered supervision imposed by a court of any jurisdiction
  • Is not the subject of any emergency or temporary domestic violence protective order,
  • Has not been adjudicated mentally incompetent or involuntarily committed to a mental institution
  • Is not prohibited from possessing or receiving a firearm by any law (state or federal)
  • Has completed a training course meets the requirements of state law

Concealed Carry Firearms Training

West Virginia requires that applicants complete a training course in the safe handling and firing of a handgun. The course must include live firing exercises. Any course that meets the following is deemed acceptable:

  • National Rifle Association (NRA) handgun safety or training courses
  • Handgun safety courses available to the public offered by law enforcement, any college, or organization utilizing duly certified instructors
  • Handgun safety courses or classes conducted by an NRA-certified handgun instructor
  • Handgun safety courses or classes conducted by the United States Armed Forces

Concealed Carry Location Restrictions

Even with a concealed carry permit, you may not carry a concealed firearm in the following locations:

  • Any education building, school, or school bus
  • County courthouses or any building with a courthouse inside of it
  • The State Capitol Complex
  • Regional jails, detention facilities, or State Division of Corrections facilities
  • Any building or area limited by municipal code
  • Any property where firearms are prohibited by the owner or any other person charged with the control of the property
  • Wherever signs are posted indicating weapon restrictions
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law or state law or regulation

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice or acted upon as if it is legal advice: it is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information. Gun laws can change frequently, especially at the state and local levels. Application of gun laws can be unique to an individual’s situation. We recommend that each individual consult with a competent and qualified legal professional before purchasing, transporting, or using any firearm or firearm-related product.