According to the West Virginia constitutional provision, ‘A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home, and state, and for lawful hunting and recreational use.‘
If you are wanting a firearm in West Virginia, there is no waiting period required for the purchase. There is also no requirement to have a license to own a firearm.
West Virginia is a permitless carry state. Open carry is legal if the person is 18 years old and legally able to have a firearm under state and federal law. No license or permit is needed for open carry.
To concealed carry without a license, a person must be a U.S. citizen, or legal resident of the U.S., that is at least 21 years old and is legally entitled to have a firearm under state and federal law. If an 18- to 20-year-old wishes to concealed carry they would require a Provisional Concealed Handgun License (CHL). West Virginia CHLs are issued to residents and members of the military permanently posted in West Virginia.
West Virginia also issues permits to non-state residents.
Concealed weapons licenses may only be issued for pistols and revolvers.
According to Findlaw the following people are not able to possess a firearm.
It is illegal for the following people to possess a firearm in West Virginia:
- People who have been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
- People who are habitually addicted to alcohol
- People who are unlawful users of or habitually addicted to any controlled substance
- People who have been adjudicated to be mentally incompetent or who have been involuntarily committed to a mental institution
- People who are aliens illegally or unlawfully in the United States
- People who have been discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions
- People who are subject to a domestic violence protective order
- People who have been convicted of a misdemeanor offense of domestic assault or battery
It is also illegal in West Virginia to carry, transport, or possess any machine gun, submachine gun or any other fully automatic weapon unless a person has fully complied with all applicable federal statutes, rules, and regulations.
West Virginia is a Castle Doctrine state, which is similar to ‘stand your ground’ but is limited to real property, including a person’s home, property and, in some states, cars or workplaces. According to the law, 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.