Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library

Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2021 ‘Preemption of Local Laws in West Virginia.’ Other Laws & Policies. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 6 May

Relevant contents

Local Authority to Regulate Firearms in West Virginia

West Virginia Code § 8-12-5a provides:

[N]either a municipality nor the governing body of any municipality may limit the right of any person to purchase, possess, transfer, own, carry, transport, sell or store any revolver, pistol, rifle or shotgun or any ammunition or ammunition components to be used therewith nor to so regulate the keeping of gunpowder so as to directly or indirectly prohibit the ownership of the ammunition. Nothing herein shall in any way impair the authority of any municipality, or the governing body thereof, to enact any ordinance or resolution respecting the power to arrest, convict and punish any individual under the provisions of [section 8-12-5(16)] or from enforcing any such ordinance or resolution: Provided, That any municipal ordinance in place as of [June 1, 1999] shall be excepted from the provisions of this section: Provided, however, That no provision in this section may be construed to limit the authority of a municipality to restrict the commercial use of real estate in designated areas through planning or zoning ordinances.

Section 8-12-5(16) states:

In addition to the powers and authority granted by (i) The constitution of this state; (ii) other provisions of this chapter; (iii) other general law; and (iv) any charter, and to the extent not inconsistent or in conflict with any of the foregoing … every municipality and the governing body thereof shall have the plenary power and authority therein by ordinance or resolution, as the case may require, and by appropriate action based thereon … to arrest, convict and punish any individual for carrying about his or her person any revolver…pistol…or any other dangerous or other deadly weapon.

There are no cases interpreting sections 8-12-5(16) or 8-12-5a.

Section 7-1-3, which lists the powers of county commissions, provides in part:

The county commission may not limit the right of any person to purchase, possess, transfer, own, carry, transport, sell or store any revolver, pistol, rifle or shotgun or any ammunition or ammunition components to be used therewith nor to so regulate the keeping of gunpowder so as to, directly or indirectly, prohibit the ownership of the ammunition: Provided, That no provision in this section may be construed to limit the authority of a county to restrict the commercial use of real estate in designated areas through planning or zoning ordinances…

[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]

ID: Q7744

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