Carrying a firearm for self-defense comes with a lot of responsibility. Knowing the laws where you carry is just one important task you must undertake as an armed American. To help with that, we will be providing you with a summary of basic carry laws for several states. Learn about the most important things to know when carrying in West Virginia, the Mountain State, below.
Getting a Permit in West Virginia
West Virginia is a constitutional carry state. Open carry is legal in West Virginia without a permit for anyone at least 18 years of age who is not prohibited from carrying a firearm. Some areas are off-limits, including schools and courthouses.
Concealed carry is legal for any legal resident of the U.S. who is at least 21 years old and who can legally possess a firearm without a license/permit. Those wanting to concealed carry out-of-state will still need to get a Concealed Handgun License (CHL). West Virginia CHLs are available to residents and military personnel permanently posted in West Virginia. As of July 6, 2021, the State will issue permits to non-residents. A permit requires the applicant to complete a firearms training course in handling and firing a handgun. In terms of reciprocity, West Virginia recognizes all currently valid concealed carry permits issued by other U.S. jurisdictions. Stun guns, Tasers and pepper spray are allowed to be carried for self-defense since all are legal to purchase and possess without a permit.
A permit is not required when buying a handgun, and there is no firearms registration in West Virginia. No background check is required when buying a handgun from a private individual. In addition, a CHL exempts the licensee from the background check requirement when purchasing a firearm from a Federal Firearms Licensee (FFL) or dealer. There is also no mandatory waiting period for handgun purchases. West Virginia has no magazine-capacity or ammunition restrictions.
Where Can One Carry?
In terms of locations where a concealed handgun may be carried, anyone at least 21 years old and otherwise able to lawfully possess a firearm may concealed carry a handgun without a permit in a motor vehicle. Other areas where concealed carry is allowed include:
- Roadside rest areas
- State/national parks
- State/national forest
- Wildlife Management Areas
Locations where carry is prohibited include:
- Any public primary or secondary education building or grounds, school-sponsored function, or in or on a private primary or secondary education building, structure or facility (except possession of an unloaded firearm in a motor vehicle and leaving an unloaded firearm in a locked motor vehicle)
- Any school bus
- County courthouses or any facility housing a court of this state
- The State Capitol Complex (except a permittee 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)
- Regional jails, detention facilities and State Division of Corrections facilities
- Any building or area limited by municipal code (certain municipalities may have further handgun restrictions in municipal code)
- 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 or state law or regulation
Visit the USCCA West Virginia gun laws page now…