West Virginia Open Carry Scaled

West Virginia Open Carry: Laws, Requirements, Application & Online Training

West Virginia, one of the constitutional carry states in the USA, has specific laws governing the possession and use of firearms. For those looking to exercise their right to open carry in the state, it is essential to be well-versed in the relevant gun statutes. This article aims to provide a comprehensive overview of open carry laws in West Virginia, addressing age requirements, permitted locations, restrictions, and other crucial information.

West Virginia Gun Laws Summary

Before delving into the specifics of open carry, let’s briefly review the general gun laws in West Virginia. The state issues concealed handgun permits through the local county sheriff’s office, following a shall-issue policy.

Purchase permits are required to buy firearms, except when purchasing from a private dealer or with a firearm permit. Unfortunately, non-residents are not eligible for West Virginia permits, and the minimum age requirement for obtaining a permit is twenty-one years old.

Is Open Carry Legal In West Virginia?

Yes, open carry is legal in West Virginia. Individuals aged eighteen years or older, with no prohibition against possessing firearms, are allowed to open carry without a permit.

Open Carry Laws In West Virginia

West Virginia is considered a permissive open carry state, meaning that no permit is necessary to openly carry firearms within the state. However, certain types of weapons, such as machine guns and semi-automatic firearms, are prohibited. Additionally, there are no restrictions on ammunition.

West Virginia Open Gun Law Quick View

To provide a quick reference, here is an overview of some essential aspects of West Virginia’s open carry laws:

See also  West Virginia Gun Laws
Law/PolicyLong GunsHandgunsComments
State permit for open carryNoNoNo permit is required for open carry of firearms in West Virginia.
Firearm registrations for open carryNoNoThere is no requirement to register firearms for open carry in the state.
Assault weapon for open carryNoNoWest Virginia prohibits the manufacture, possession, and use of assault weapons such as machine guns and semi-automatic firearms.
Magazine limitNoNoThere are no magazine limits for ammunition used in firearms in West Virginia.
License for the owner of a firearmNot requiredNot requiredNo license is required for firearm ownership in West Virginia.
Red flag lawNoNoWest Virginia does not have red flag laws for the issuance of extreme risk protection orders.
Castle doctrine lawYesYesWest Virginia is a castle doctrine state, allowing individuals to stand their ground in their home of residence or anywhere they have legal rights to be.
Background check for private dealersNoNoPrivate dealers of firearms are not required to conduct a background check before selling guns in the state.
PreemptionYesYesWest Virginia is a preemption gun law state, granting the state government authority to regulate firearms.
Concealed carry permitNoYesConcealed carry is allowed with a valid West Virginia firearm permit.
Concealed carry in personal vehicleNoYesConcealed carry in a vehicle is legal if you have a valid permit.
Open carry in SchoolsNoNoOpen carry is prohibited in schools, colleges, universities, and technical institutions in the state.

Where Is It Legal To Open Carry In West Virginia?

Open carry of firearms is permitted in several areas of West Virginia:

  1. Restaurants and bars: Open carry is allowed in restaurants that do not have signage prohibiting the possession of firearms.
  2. Private car: You can open carry or possess firearms in your vehicle or another person’s private vehicle with their consent.
  3. Roadside areas: Open carry is permitted in roadside areas throughout West Virginia.
  4. State national parks and forests: You can open carry in state parks, forests, and wildlife management areas.
See also  West Virginia Hunting

Where Is It Illegal To Open Carry In West Virginia?

There are certain areas in West Virginia where open carry and possession of firearms are prohibited:

  1. Schools: Open carry is not allowed in primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities, and other vocational institutions in the state.
  2. Courthouses: Firearms are not allowed in courthouses or other political subdivisions.
  3. State capitol building: Firearms are not permitted in the state capitol premises.
  4. Prisons: Open carry is not allowed in prisons, jails, or any other detention facility.
  5. Limited buildings: Firearms are prohibited in buildings restricted by state or municipal laws.
  6. Private properties: Firearms are not allowed in private properties that have posted signs prohibiting weapons possession.
  7. Prohibited areas: Open carry is not allowed in areas prohibited by federal or state gun laws.

Relevant Open Carry Law And Legislature In West Virginia

West Virginia’s gun laws related to open carry and firearm possession are influenced by the following:

Preemption Gun Laws

West Virginia has preemption gun laws, granting the state authority to regulate the use of firearms. While the state government has control, certain exceptions apply:

  • Municipalities can regulate the possession of firearms in state buildings within their jurisdiction.
  • Firearms may be prohibited in certain off-limits locations, except for legal concealed carry in unrestricted areas.
  • Firearms can be regulated in buildings owned and used by municipalities, except for recreational areas.

In June twenty-twenty, West Virginia expanded the preemption law to limit local ordinances that conflict with state gun laws.

Brandishing Of Firearms

Brandishing firearms in a way that threatens or causes fear to others is illegal in West Virginia. This law applies regardless of whether the person possesses the firearm legally or if it is loaded or unloaded. However, this does not include situations of self-defense or the legal use of firearms by law enforcement officers.

See also  Minnesota Open Carry

Open Carry Of Firearms While Hunting

While hunting or participating in related activities such as fishing, camping, or hiking, individuals can open carry and possess firearms. However, the use of firearms during hunting is allowed only if the individual is appropriately licensed. For bow hunting, archery equipment is permitted. West Virginia has hunters’ harassment laws in place to protect licensed hunting activities in the state.


West Virginia is indeed one of the constitutional carry states in the USA, allowing individuals to open carry firearms without a permit. As a permissive open-carry state, it offers considerable freedom for responsible gun owners.

However, it is crucial to be aware of restricted areas and comply with all applicable laws and regulations when exercising this right. Understanding the nuances of West Virginia’s open carry laws will help ensure safe and legal firearm possession in the Mountain State.


Q1. Can non-residents of West Virginia obtain a firearm permit in the state?

No, West Virginia permits are only available to residents of the state.

Q2. Is there an age requirement to obtain a West Virginia firearm permit?

Yes, the minimum age requirement to obtain a firearm permit in West Virginia is twenty-one years old.

Q3. Are there any ammunition restrictions in West Virginia?

No, there are no ammunition restrictions for firearms use in West Virginia.

Q4. Can private dealers run background checks before selling firearms in the state? Private dealers in West Virginia are not required to run background checks before selling guns.

Q5. Is it legal to open carry in restaurants and bars in West Virginia?

Yes, open carry is permitted in restaurants that do not have signage prohibiting firearms possession.

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