West Virginia Gun Laws: What You Should Know

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As a responsibly armed American, you already know how challenging it can be to stay up to date on gun laws.

West Virginia gun owners, you’re in luck. We’ve gathered some of the most frequently asked firearms questions in your state. Read on for answers to some of the top questions regarding West Virginia gun laws. (Not from West Virginia? Check the Legal & Second Amendment tab for your state.)

Can You Carry a Gun Without a Permit in West Virginia?

Yes. West Virginia is a constitutional carry state. Open carry is legal, with no requirement to have a license to carry a firearm, provided the person is a U.S. citizen or legal resident of the U.S. A carrier must be at least 18 years old and legally entitled to have a firearm under state and federal law. To concealed carry without a license, a person must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident of the U.S. and at least 21 years old. He or she must be legally entitled to have a firearm under state and federal law. If an 18- to 20-year-old wishes to concealed carry, he or she would require a Provisional Concealed Handgun License (CHL).

Do Guns Have to Be Registered in West Virginia? Is There a Waiting Period to Buy a Gun in West Virginia?

No. There is no firearms registration requirement in West Virginia. In addition, there is no mandated waiting period prior to the purchase of a firearm.

Can You Carry a Loaded Gun in Your Car in West Virginia?

Yes. Loaded firearms can be carried concealed in vehicles by anyone who is at least 21 years old (18 years old for members of the United States Armed Forces, Reserve or National Guard) and legally entitled to have a firearm under state and federal law. No concealed carry permit is required.

Are Brass Knuckles Legal in West Virginia?

Yes, metallic or brass knuckles are legal in West Virginia. They are considered deadly weapons and may be carried concealed by U.S. citizens or legal residents of the U.S. who are 21 years of age or older. Users must not be otherwise prohibited under state or federal law from possessing a firearm. No concealed carry license is necessary.

Can You Carry a Gun in a Bar in West Virginia?

Yes. There is no law restricting concealed carry in bars or restaurants in West Virginia, unless the establishment has signs posted indicating no firearms are allowed.

Is West Virginia a ‘Stand Your Ground’ State?

Yes. West Virginia is a Castle Doctrine state and has a “stand your ground” law. A lawful occupant within a home or other place of residence is justified in using reasonable and proportionate force, including deadly force, against an intruder or attacker. The occupant must reasonably believe that the intruder or attacker intends to commit a felony in the home or residence and that deadly force is necessary. There is no duty to retreat in any place a person has a legal right to be if the person reasonably believes that he or she or another is in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm — that is, if he or she or another can only be saved by the use of deadly force against the intruder or attacker.

What States Recognize West Virginia Gun Permits?

There are 38 states that recognize West Virginia Concealed Handgun Licenses (CHLs) or allow permitless carry. Of those 38 states, many do not honor WV provisional permits issued to 18- to 20-year-olds, and several states only honor CHLs issued to WV residents. The only states that do NOT honor West Virginia CHLs are:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington

Ready to Learn More About West Virginia Gun Laws?

It is your responsibility as a gun owner to know and understand the laws regarding your concealed carry rights. The USCCA’s Concealed Carry Reciprocity & Gun Laws Map has been designed to help inform and educate armed citizens like you. To learn more about West Virginia’s concealed carry permit application process, concealed carry restrictions and training requirements, visit the West Virginia gun laws page now… 

The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and, as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer. 

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