Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2023 ‘Background Check Procedures in West Virginia.’ Background Checks. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 1 February
Background Checks in West Virginia
Federal law requires federally licensed firearms dealers (but not private sellers) to initiate a background check on the purchaser prior to sale of a firearm. Federal law provides states with the option of serving as a state "point of contact" and conducting their own background checks using state, as well as federal, records and databases, or having the checks performed by the FBI using only the federal National Instant Criminal Background Check System ("NICS") database. (Note that state files are not always included in the federal database.)
West Virginia is not a point of contact state for NICS. West Virginia has no law requiring firearms dealers to initiate a background check prior to transferring a firearm. In West Virginia, all firearms transfers by licensed dealers are processed directly through the FBI, which enforces the federal prohibitions referenced above.
Firearms transfers by private sellers (non-firearms dealers) are not subject to background checks in West Virginia, although federal and state purchaser prohibitions still apply…
[Editor's note: The Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence regularly updates its webpages with new data as US gun regulation evolves state by state. For the most up-to-date information on US gun laws, please refer to the Giffords URL below]