West Virginia is a constitutional carry state that will permit the possession of a firearm without an issued license. It is also a shall-issue state for the application of a gun license. This means that if you meet all state requirements, the state will issue you a firearm license.
To buy a firearm from a private gun dealer or a gun show in the state, you do not need to complete a background check or register the firearm.
Get Your Concealed Carry Weapon Permit Online in Minutes
Possession of Firearms in West Virginia
You can open carry in West Virginia without a gun license, as long as you are eighteen years old or more without any prohibition to possess firearms either federally or by a USA state.
Open carry of firearm in West Virginia is not permitted in every part of the state. Gun laws of the state restrict some locations for the possession of firearms, and you could be arrested and charged to court if found with a firearm in those places.
Concealed carry of firearms without a permit in West Virginia is only possible for residents of the state. The residents must be at least twenty-one years old, and must not have any prohibition for the possession of firearms. Anyone within the age of eighteen and twenty years old that wants to conceal carry in West Virginia must apply for the state’s concealed handgun license first.
Concealed gun licenses in West Virginia were previously for only residents of the state and members of the military stationed in the state for duties. However, the state legislature declared that from the 6th of July in 2021, non-residents can begin to apply for concealed gun licenses in West Virginia. But as at now, nonresidents are only permitted to conceal carry in West Virginia if they have a gun license from their state.
West Virginia requires a gun permit for the possession of firearms in private vehicles, except for anyone that is at least twenty-one years old or eighteen years old for a military member, and has legal rights to possess firearms. The law also allows concealed carry of firearms in roadside areas of the state.
You do not need a permit to possess firearms in West Virginia parks forests or wildlife areas. And except there is a post prohibiting the possession of firearms in the area, there are no gun statutes in West Virginia that bans the possession of firearms in restaurant and bar areas of the state.
Hotels in West Virginia can come up with gun policies for the possession of firearms in their premises. West Virginia statute permits them to do this. Therefore, being a licensee does not mean you can open or conceal carry in hotels.
According to gun laws in the state no employer, land owner or agent in charge of a property may prohibit an employee or an invited person from possessing firearms if the person is a legal firearm owner and the firearm is lawfully possessed, or the person stores the firearm in a vehicle in a parking lot, or an area designated for cars.
Also an employee cannot prohibit an employer from possessing firearms if the firearm is not visible from outside the vehicle, and if such person is legally present within the premises. Finally, no employer shall refrain from granting employment based on the fact that an individual is a firearm or gun license owner.
Places Where You Cannot Possess Firearms in West Virginia
Gun laws in West Virginia prohibits the possession of firearms in certain areas of the state.
- You are not allowed to be with your firearm in any public or privately owned school, secondary and primary, and their premises, facilities, or buildings. This also includes places for vocational education in the state. The only exception to this is locking away an unloaded firearm in a vehicle while on the school premises.
- You are not allowed to possess firearms in a school bus or any vehicle used for the transportation of school students
- You cannot possess firearms in any building or facility that is used for court sessions in West Virginia.
- You cannot possess firearms in a state capitol building except if you have a concealed handgun license, in which case you can keep the firearm safely in your vehicle away from public view.
- You cannot possess firearms in prisons, jails, detention, or any correctional facility in the state.
- You cannot possess firearms in municipalities and counties that have strict laws against the use of firearms in their regions. Therefore, make sure that you enquire about this if you are new to an area.
- You are not allowed to possess firearms in any building or property that has a post prohibiting the possession of firearms on their premises except you get permission from those in charge of the building.
- You cannot possess firearms anywhere federal laws prohibit possession of firearms.
Application for West Virginia Gun Permit
You can take up a West Virginia concealed carry permit online course, but make sure that the teacher is a state-certified firearm instructor. Download the application form from an online portal and fill it. After completing the necessary documents, apply and notarize it at the sheriff’s office of the local county you live. Other documents you have to provide include a firearm training certificate, an updated passport photograph, your driver’s license or state identification card. You also have to pay the required fee.
After applying, the sheriff will investigate according to the information you provide and permit requirements in the state. Upon completing the investigation, forward the application and the fee to West Virginia State Police for final processing. You will be contacted to come and pick up the application at the state police department. The processing period for the permit application is forty-five days.
Your permit will be valid for five years; after which you have to apply for a renewal. For provisional license, the permit will expire after the holder’s twenty-first birthday.
Renewal permits and initial permits cost twenty-five dollars each, with an additional twenty-five dollars for the background check. Provisional permits cost fifteen dollars with an extra twenty-five dollars for the background check.
Retired law officers and honorably discharged veterans will only pay for a background check.
Requirements for the Application of West Virginia Gun Permit
Before applying for a West Virginia gun permit, you must fulfill the following requirements
- You must be at least twenty-one years old to apply for a permit, or between eighteen and twenty years old, for a provisional license.
- You must complete a West Virginia concealed carry permit course for firearm training.
- You must be a legal citizen or resident of the United States of America.
- You must reside in the county from where you are making the application.
- You must not be an alcohol addict or a user of any substance controlled by the Drug Law Enforcement Agency.
- You must not have a court order treatment for alcohol or any drug three years before West Virginia concealed carry application.
- You must not have multiple convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol.
- You must not have any conviction for a felony case unless pardoned or expunged by a court of law.
- You must not have any conviction for misdemeanor crime or domestic assault according to federal law.
- You must not have a conviction for any violent crime for at least five years before concealed carry application in the state.
- You must not be a convict for any misdemeanor crime of domestic violence in which you victimized a spouse, sexual or intimate partner, a person that cohabitates with you, parent or guardian, a child, or any member of your household.
- You must not have any conviction for a felony crime in which you have a sentence that confines you, or you are presently serving parole or probation under the supervision of a law court.
- You must not have a court order restricting you from the possession of a firearm in the state.
- You must not be mentally unstable or a patient of any mental institution before applying for the CCW permit unless you have a court order stating that you are now mentally fit to possess a firearm.
- You must not have a protection order or a red flag from any court of law in the state.
- You must meet all federal law requirements for the application of a gun permit in America.
Is Constitutional Carry Prohibited in Some Parts of West Virginia?
West Virginia preemption gun law does not permit counties, local government areas, municipalities, and political subdivisions to enact gun laws, ordinances or regulations that will affect activities of firearms in the state such as transportation, sales, purchase, ownership, possession, transfer etc. The law also covers ammunition and various firearm components.
However, local areas and municipalities are allowed to regulate the use of firearms within their territory, for safety reasons.
This means that no other local government law in West Virginia will conflict with the state legislation. So, permitless carry West Virginia is allowed in every part of the state.