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West Virginia Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map & Gun Laws

Prepare for Your Concealed Carry Permit and Learn the Gun Laws and Regulations of West Virginia.

West Virginia State Seal

West Virginia Reciprocity Map

West Virginia Concealed Carry Reciprocity Overview

1.8M

STATE POPULATION

147K

LICENSES ISSUED

8.17%

LICENSE PERCENTAGE

50

STATES HONORED

18

MINIMUM AGE TO CC

5

YEARS LICENSE VALID

38

RECIPROCATING STATES

YES

CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY

2

CC CERTIFIED INSTRUCTORS

Responsible Conceal Carry in West Virginia

If you plan on carrying a loaded weapon in the state of West Virginia, it is important to know the laws of the state. While the U.S. Constitution’s second amendment protects the right to bear arms, each state can make its own additional gun laws. West Virginia allows many freedoms for residents who wish to buy or carry firearms.

Consider online or local training for gun ownership in West Virginia. Concealed Coalition offers certified training courses that can help you learn everything you need to know about concealed carrying and more.

Summary of West Virginia Gun Laws

Your West Virginia Gun Rights

In the state of West Virginia, a background check, firearms registration or permit is not required to buy a gun from a private owner and there is no waiting period. It is a permitless carry, constitutional carry, and shall-issue state, whereas a concealed handgun license (CHL) can be obtained by the sheriff’s office at the county level. However, a person must take a firearm training course in firing and handling a handgun to apply for a CHL.

While West Virginia permits open carry throughout the state, there are some places where weapons are not allowed, including courthouses, schools, and on school buses. As far as reciprocity, the state honors concealed carry permits from all other states.  

Open Carry in West Virginia

Open carry is legal without any license requirements in the state to carry a handgun, as long as the person is legally able to have a handgun under federal and state laws and is 18 years old or older.

Concealed Carry in West Virginia

Concealed carry is also legal without a license, provided the person is a U.S. citizen, or a legal resident, who is aged 21 or older and can have a firearm legally under federal and state laws.

A person between the ages of 18 and 20 is required to obtain a provisional CHL to conceal carry in the state. CHLs in West Virginia are now issued to both residents and non-residents of the state as well as active military members posted in the state.  

Self Defense Laws in West Virginia

West Virginia uses the “stand your ground”, Castle Doctrine, and no-duty to retreat laws. Together, these laws allow a person to defend their property and themself by any means necessary if they believe they or someone else is in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death.

Use of Force in a Home or Other Dwelling Place

An occupant of a home or another residence can legally use proportionate and reasonable force, including deadly force, on an attacker or intruder to terminate unlawful entry or prevent them from entering into a home or residence by force. This is only justifiable under certain circumstances: if the occupant reasonably believes that the attacker may inflict serious bodily harm or death upon the occupant or others, or if the attacker’s intentions are to commit a felony inside the home and deadly force is necessary. A lawful occupant in a home or another residence does not have to retreat from an attacker or intruder.

Use of Force Outside a Home or Other Dwelling Place

If a person is not engaged in any unlawful activity and is attacked outside of their residence in a place where they have a legal right to be, they have the right to use proportionate and reasonable force against the attacker or intruder as long as they believe that they themself or another person is in imminent danger of serious bodily harm or death and the only way to avoid this is by using deadly force against the attacker or intruder.

Protecting Yourself After Use of Force

The justified use of proportionate and reasonable force under the section below constitutes a complete and thorough defense against any charges brought by an attacker or intruder against the person who found it necessary to use force to avoid serious bodily harm or death to them or another person.

§ 61-7-7 of the W. Va. Code Ann.

Being a certified gun owner not only shows you have a good knowledge and understanding of guns and when and how to use them but it also shows you are a responsible person who cares about gun laws. Concealed Coalition offers a firearms training safety course in West Virginia that teaches gun owners how to gauge threats and protect themselves and others against attackers and intruders. Contact us to learn more.

West Virginia Gun Laws by Statute

It’s essential for West Virginia firearm owners to remember that the following laws are subject to change without notice. The attorney general’s website has all the latest information and should be visited regularly by licensees.

Concealed Coalition is dedicated to dispelling the myths surrounding gun ownership and promoting a culture of understanding and responsibility. Our certified instructors are qualified across multiple states, and our online or local training classes provide convenient learning with instructors who care.

Contact us today at (304) 202-6720 or email to discuss your concealed carry permit educational needs.

Quick Links

West Virginia Concealed Carry Training Courses

CONCEALED CARRY BASICS IN WEST VIRGINIA

QUESTION

ANSWER

What States Have Reciprocity with West Virginia?

West Virginia honors concealed carry permits from the following states:

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, Wyoming, and Puerto Rico.

Which States’ Permits Does West Virginia Honor?

It is important to understand that even though you have a CHL in the state of West Virginia; you are still subject to other state firearm laws when traveling through that state. The following states recognize concealed handgun licenses issued by West Virginia:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • North Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Vermont

Note: While residents of West Virginia can legally carry a concealed firearm in Oklahoma without a concealed license, you must have a valid driver’s license or a state-issued ID while carrying your handgun in the state.

Does West Virginia recognize constitutional carry?

Yes. West Virginia does allow permitless carry.

Is open carry permitted in West Virginia?

Yes, a person does not need a license to open carry a handgun in West Virginia as long as they are 18 or older and legally entitled to own a firearm.

If West Virginia requires a license to carry a concealed firearm, how are those licenses issued?

West Virginia is a shall-issue state.

What is the minimum age in West Virginia to get a concealed carry license?

A person must be at least 18 years old to apply for Provisional Licensing.

Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in West Virginia with a concealed carry license (or under permit-less carry if applicable)?

No. A CHL does not permit you to carry other weapons in West Virginia.

Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in West Virginia?

Yes. Tasers and stun guns are both legal in the state and can be purchased without a license.

Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in West Virginia?

Yes. There are no laws prohibiting the use or purchase of pepper spray in the state.

Does West Virginia have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?

No. West Virginia has no magazine capacity restrictions.

Does West Virginia have ammunition restrictions?

No. West Virginia has no ammunition restrictions.

CONCEALED CARRY LOCATIONS IN WEST VIRGINIA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Can you carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in West Virginia?

Yes. People over the age of 21, who do not have any gun restrictions, can carry a concealed gun in a vehicle without a license in West Virginia.

§ 20-2-5(9) of the W. Va. Code Ann.
§ 61-7-7 of the W. Va. Code Ann.

Can you carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in West Virginia?

Yes. Concealed carry is legal at West Virginia roadside rest areas.

Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forest and Wildlife Management Areas in West Virginia?

Yes, no license is required in West Virginia.

Click here for West Virginia DNR State Parks Rules.

Can you carry a concealed firearm in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in West Virginia?

Yes, there is no law making concealed carry illegal in bars and restaurants, unless posted.

Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in West Virginia?

West Virginia does not cover firearms at hotels. It is recommended to contact the hotel ahead and ask them what their gun policies are as they make their own provisions.

Does West Virginia have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?

Those in control of real property cannot prohibit an employee, invitee or customer, from possessing a legally owned firearm, when it is:

  • Legally possessed;
  • Concealed;
  • In a parking lot locked to or in a motor vehicle;
  • The employee, invitee or customer is allowed legally to be in that area.

§ 61-7-14 of the W. Va. Code Ann.

IMPORTANT GUNS LAWS IN WEST VIRGINIA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Do you have a duty to notify a police officer that you're carrying a concealed firearm in West Virginia?

In West Virginia, there is not a duty to inform law enforcement that you have a concealed weapon on your person. 

Are "No Weapons Allowed? signs enforced in West Virginia? If, yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If, no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.

No. There aren’t any rules or laws enforcing “No Weapons Allowed” signs in the state of West Virginia.

Does West Virginia have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e., Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?

Yes, West Virginia does have preemption of firearms laws, but municipalities may regulate the:

  • Possession or carrying of a handgun in municipal buildings;
  • Possession or carrying of a handgun, pepper spray or a deadly weapon that is not concealed lawfully and out of view where others cannot access the weapon, in municipal recreational facilities;
  • Possession or carrying of a handgun, pepper spray or a deadly weapon in municipality buildings, including recreational facilities, by those who don’t carry a CHL.

Municipalities are required to provide signage for areas with restrictions. In addition, a handgun, pepper spray or deadly weapon can be kept in a vehicle at municipal public parking lots, as long as it is locked and the weapon is not in view.

Municipalities must allow the possession or carrying of a handgun, pepper spray or deadly weapon that can be lawfully possessed, on public sidewalks and streets of the municipality.

§ 8-12.5(a) of the W. Va. Code Ann.

As of June 24, 2020, West Virginia extended the state preemption.

No municipality may reduce the right of a person to possess, transfer, purchase, own, transport, sell, store or carry any firearm, pepper spray, deadly weapon, ammunition or components for ammunition to indirectly or directly prohibit ownership of the ammunition in an inconsistent manner with or in conflict with state laws.

Does West Virginia have a red flag law?

No. There is no red flag law in West Virginia.

Does West Virginia state law define brandishing?

Yes. It is unlawful for an armed person to brandish or use a weapon to threaten or cause a breach of peace, whether or not they possess a license to carry.  

§ 61-7-11 of the W. Va. Code Ann.

Does West Virginia have laws regarding carrying a concealed firearm while using alcohol or chemical substances?

No. This is not covered in the West Virginia statutes. However, as a responsible adult, a person should know that carrying a weapon while under the influence of alcohol or drugs is not wise as it could impair your judgments and your ability to make the right decisions. Your use of a firearm can have life-altering, severe consequences.  

Does West Virginia issue concealed carry licenses to non-residents?

Yes, which began on July 6, 2021.

Does West Virginia allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?

No. The sheriff and superintendent of state police keep copies of these records that can only be accessed by state officials in the case of prosecution.

HANDGUN PURCHASE & POSSESSION IN WEST VIRGINIA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in West Virginia?

No. You do not need a permit to buy a firearm in West Virginia.

 

Are background checks required for private gun sales in West Virginia?

No. A background check is not required for private handgun transfers.

Does my current West Virginia concealed carry license exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase firearm? 

Yes. A background check is not required to purchase a handgun in the state.

Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in West Virginia?

No. There is no waiting period in West Virginia for handgun purchases.

Do handguns need to be registered in West Virginia?

No. In West Virginia, handguns do not require registration.

What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in West Virginia?

You must be 18 or older to possess or transport a firearm in West Virginia.

§ 61-7-8 of the W. Va. Code Ann.

Can I possess/carry a handgun in my home in West Virginia without a license? 

Yes. Permitless carry is legal in West Virginia for anyone who can legally own a firearm in the state.

WEST VIRGINIA CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE INFORMATION

Concealed Carry Requirements to Register for a License in West Virginia

An Applicant Must:

  • Be at least 21 years old (18 to 20-year-olds can apply for a license to carry);
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident;
  • Complete a handgun training course for firing and handling a handgun that meets state requirements;
  • Not be addicted to drugs or alcohol or an unlawful user of such as evidenced by any of the following: under court-ordered or residential treatment for drug treatment, alcohol detoxification or alcoholism for 3 years prior to applying or have any convictions for driving while drug-impaired or driving under the influence of alcohol within the past two years;
  • Not have any felony convictions unless it was set aside, expunged, the civil rights of the applicant were restored, or they have been pardoned;
  • Not have any misdemeanor crime convictions for domestic violence, defined under federal law;
  • Not have any misdemeanor crime convictions for violence within the last 5 years preceding the application;
  • Not have any misdemeanor crime convictions for assault or battery in any state against an intimate partner, former or current spouse, a parent or guardian, a member of their household or a person the defendant cohabited a child with;
  • Not be under a felony indictment or currently serving a sentence involving confinement, probation, parole or another supervision imposed by court order in any jurisdiction, or is a subject of a temporary, emergency or final protective order for domestic violence ordered by a court in any jurisdiction;
  • Not have been found mentally incompetent or committed to a mental institution involuntarily, unless a court order shows the person no longer is under a disability and their right to receive or possess a firearm has been restored;
  • Not be prohibited from receiving or possessing a firearm in any state;
  • Meet federal law requirements.

Fees:

West Virginia residents pay $25 for license and renewals and $25 for a background check.

Non-residents pay $100 for license and renewals and $25 for a background check.

A provisional license is $15 and $25 for a background check.

The United States Armed Forces honorably discharged veterans and honorably retired officers do not have to pay license fees. They only have to pay a $25 background check fee.

Valid For:

5 years.

Processing Time:

45 days.

Applications:

Click here for an application

Click here for a provisional CHS application

Name & Address Changes:

For name and address changes, you must submit a change notification form, notarize it and submit it within 20 days to the local sheriff’s office. There is a $5 fee.

Lost or Stolen Licenses:

You may obtain a substitute or duplicate license for a $5 fee by submitting a notarized statement to the issuing sheriff, indicating whether your license was lost or stolen.

Residency Changes:

If you relocate to West Virginia, you can apply to the county sheriff’s office where you reside for your license. Those with a West Virginia license who relocate to another location must apply to their new state for licensing as the West Virginia license expires when you establish residency in another state.  

WEST VIRGINIA CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE APPLICATION PROCESS

Step One:

Complete a West Virginia firearms training course with Concealed Coalition. 

Step Two:

Download and complete the application form.

Step Three:

STEP 3:

File your completed and notarized application at the sheriff’s office for the county in which you reside or any county sheriff’s office for non-residents. You will need the following:

  • Firearms course certificate
  • Passport-style photo
  • Driver’s license/ID card.

Pay the fee.

Step Four:

The sheriff will conduct an investigation relative to the information contained in the application as required by state law.

Upon completion of the investigation and if a license to carry a concealed pistol/revolver is approved and issued, you will pay an additional $25 fee to the sheriff.

Step Five:

The sheriff will immediately forward to the state police a certified copy of the approved application and will forward the $25 fee within 30 days.

Step Six:

You will be contacted when the license is ready to be picked up.

WEST VIRGINIA CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE RENEWAL PROCESS

Step One:

Step Two:

Step Three:

Get Certified for a West Virginia Concealed Carry Permit Today

Concealed Coalition offers a concealed weapon training course that can help you learn more about gun ownership, including how to fire a handgun, state laws and regulations, and more. Complete the course and become a certified gun owner. Contact us now to learn more.