West Virginia Gun Laws
West Virginia is known for having some of the most unrestrictive gun laws in the nation. It is a constitutional carry state, which means there is no requirement to have a license to carry a concealed firearm as long as you are 18 years old and can legally possess a gun according to federal law. This article provides an overview of West Virginia’s gun laws, concealed carry regulations, reciprocity, and places where carrying a firearm is allowed or restricted.
West Virginia Gun Laws Quick Facts
1. Constitutional Carry?
Yes – West Virginia is considered a constitutional carry state as they allow for permit-less carry both openly or concealed.
2. Open Carry Permitted?
Yes – West Virginia allows for open carry without a license for any person so long as the individual is 18 or older and is legally allowed to own a firearm.
3. Carry In Vehicle?
Yes – West Virginia allows for concealed carry within a vehicle so long as they’re 21 or older and legally allowed to own a firearm. On May 24th, 2022, HB 4048 went into effect, allowing all individuals to carry long guns in their vehicles (loaded or unloaded).
4. Carry In State Park?
Yes – West Virginia allows for concealed carry within their state parks without a permit.
5. Carry In Restaurants?
Yes – West Virginia allows for concealed carry within restaurants and bars without a permit so long as you’re not intoxicated whatsoever.
6. No Weapon Sign Enforced?
No – We were unable to find any specific code giving no weapons signs the force of law.
7. Must Notify Officer?
No – West Virginia does not have any duty to inform laws within its code. You are not required to notify LEO’s that you’re carrying upon interaction unless specifically asked.
West Virginia CCW Reciprocity List
West Virginia honors non-resident and resident CCW licenses from certain states. Below is the list of states with reciprocity:
States Honoring CCW
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
Please note that some states have restricted reciprocity with West Virginia.
States NOT Honoring CCW
California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, Washington D.C.
How Reciprocity Works In West Virginia
West Virginia honors CCW licenses from states on the reciprocity list, provided the licensee is 21 years or older. However, due to West Virginia being a permitless carry state, any person who is 21 or older and can legally possess a firearm may carry a concealed weapon without any type of license. Reciprocity is still relevant for non-resident licenses.
Places Where CCW Is Allowed In West Virginia
- State parks
- State and national forests
- Roadside rest areas
- All areas of the state, except those listed as off-limits
Places Not Allowed
- The State Capitol Complex
- Regional jails, detention facilities, or State Division of Corrections facilities
- County courthouses or any facility housing a court of this state
- A school bus or any public primary or secondary education building, structure, facility, or grounds, including a vocational education building, structure, facility, or grounds where secondary vocational education programs are conducted, or at a school-sponsored function, or in or on a private primary or secondary education building, structure, or facility
- 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 carrying firearms is prohibited by federal law
West Virginia Conceal Carry Laws
Yes, open carry is legal in West Virginia without a license, but not in places listed as off-limits. Municipalities can enforce ordinances that ban the open carry of firearms in recreation facilities owned by the municipality. The minimum age for open carry is 18.
Carry In Vehicle
Yes, there is no requirement for a CHL license to carry a firearm in a vehicle provided the person is at least 21 years old, a US citizen, and is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under state and federal laws. Members of the military aged 18 and over can carry in a vehicle with only their military ID.
The State Police recommend that, if you do not have a valid concealed carry permit, while traveling in a vehicle, all firearms be unloaded and cased in a location that is not readily accessible to any of the occupants. Any ammunition should be stored separately from the firearm.
Carry In State Parks
Yes, you are permitted to carry in state parks, state/national forests, state wildlife management areas, and roadside rest areas. However, when carrying in state parks, long guns are not allowed unless hunting.
Carry In Restaurants
Yes, you can carry in restaurants that serve alcohol. However, some restaurants may have “NO GUN” signs posted. If the article indicates a “Yes,” it should be legal to have a meal without drinking alcohol.
Yes, West Virginia is a constitutional carry state, meaning no CCW license is required if the person is legally able to possess a firearm.
No Weapon Signs Enforced
No, “No Weapons” signs are not mentioned in West Virginia gun laws, and there are no legal penalties for lawfully entering a private property or business with such signs, as they have no force of law unless they are posted in areas that are mentioned by the law as off-limits.
Must Notify Officer
No, there is nothing in West Virginia gun laws that states you must inform a law enforcement officer you have a firearm when approached on official business. There is also no mention that you must carry your permit/license.
West Virginia’s gun laws and concealed carry regulations make it a favorable state for gun owners. With constitutional carry and reciprocity with numerous states, it allows for easier access to concealed carry rights. However, it’s crucial to be aware of the restricted areas where carrying a firearm is not allowed to avoid legal issues.
Is West Virginia a constitutional carry state?
Yes, West Virginia is considered a constitutional carry state, allowing permit-less carry both openly and concealed.
Can I carry a firearm in my vehicle in West Virginia?
Yes, West Virginia allows concealed carry within a vehicle as long as you’re 21 or older and legally allowed to own a firearm. HB 4048 also allows carrying long guns in vehicles (loaded or unloaded).
Does West Virginia have reciprocity with other states?
Yes, West Virginia honors CCW licenses from certain states. However, reciprocity is not as relevant due to the state’s permitless carry laws.
Where is carrying a firearm not allowed in West Virginia?
Carrying firearms is not allowed in places such as the State Capitol Complex, courthouses, schools, certain municipal areas, and locations with “No Weapons” signs.
Do I need to notify a law enforcement officer that I’m carrying a firearm in West Virginia?
No, West Virginia does not have any duty to inform laws, and you are not required to notify law enforcement officers unless specifically asked.