Citation(s) from the GunPolicy.org literature library
Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 2021 ‘Concealed Carry in West Virginia.’ Guns in Public. San Francisco, CA: Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. 19 June
Concealed Weapons Permitting in West Virginia
Any person who carries a concealed deadly weapon without a state license or other authorization provided by statute is criminally liable for a misdemeanor. West Virginia generally allows persons to possess firearms in their home, on their property or at their place of business without possessing a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon.
West Virginia is a "shall issue" state, meaning that local law enforcement must issue a concealed deadly weapon license if the applicant meets certain qualifications. Any person wishing to obtain a concealed deadly weapon license must apply to the sheriff of his or her county pursuant to West Virginia law and shall be issued a license if the applicant:
- Is a bona fide resident of the county in which the application is made and has valid state-issued photo identification showing such residence;
- Is 21 years of age or older (or is 18 years of age or older if he or she is required to carry a concealed weapon as a condition of employment);
- Is not addicted to alcohol or a controlled substance or drug, and is not "an unlawful user thereof," (under a 2012 law, a person is only disqualified for this reason if it is evidenced by either of the following within the three years immediately prior to the application: 1) Residential or court-ordered treatment for alcoholism or alcohol detoxification or drug treatment; or 2) Two or more convictions for driving while under the influence or driving while impaired);
- Has not been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor act of violence involving the misuse of a deadly weapon (under a 2012 law, a person is only disqualified for this reason if the conviction occurred within the five years immediately preceding the application);
- Has not been convicted of a "misdemeanor crime of domestic violence," as defined under federal law (this provision was added in 2012);
- Has not been convicted of a misdemeanor offense of assault or battery under state law (or has not been convicted of a misdemeanor offense with similar essential elements of these crimes in another jurisdiction outside West Virginia) in which the victim was a: 1) current or former spouse; 2) current or former sexual or intimate partner; 3) person with whom the defendant cohabits or has cohabited; 4) a parent or guardian; 5) defendant's child or ward; or 6) member of the defendant's household at the time of the offense
- Is not under indictment for a felony offense or is not currently serving a sentence of confinement, parole, probation or other court-ordered supervision imposed by a court of any jurisdiction, or is the subject of an emergency or temporary domestic violence protective order, or is the subject of a final domestic violence protective order entered by a court of any jurisdiction;
- Has not been adjudicated mentally incompetent, unless the person presents a court order reflecting that the person is no longer under the disability; and
- Has completed a training course in the handling and firing of a handgun that meets the requirements of state law.
In 2012, West Virginia removed a requirement that the applicant be "physically and mentally competent to carry such weapons." Additional application and background check requirements are provided by statute. License revocation information is also provided by statute.
Firearm Safety Training
All persons applying for a license to carry a concealed deadly weapon in West Virginia must complete a training course in the handling and firing of a handgun. Any course meeting the following criteria are deemed acceptable:
- Official National Rifle Association handgun safety or training courses;
- Handgun safety or training courses or classes available to the general public offered by an official law-enforcement organization, community college, junior college, college or private or public institution or organization or handgun training schools utilizing instructors duly certified by the institution;
- Handgun training or safety courses or classes conducted by a handgun instructor certified as such by the state or by the National Rifle Association; or
- Handgun training or safety courses or classes conducted by any branch of the United States Military, Reserve or National Guard.
A photocopy of a certificate of completion of any of the courses or classes or an affidavit from the instructor, school, club, organization or group that conducted or taught said course or class attesting to the successful completion of the course or class by the applicant or a copy of any document which shows successful completion of the course or class shall constitute evidence of qualification under this section.
Duration & Renewal
A West Virginia concealed deadly weapons license is valid for five years. Renewal applicants are not required to complete a training course in the handling and firing of a handgun if the applicant previously completed such a course.
Disclosure or Use of Information
The issuing sheriff is required to furnish the Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police with a certified copy of any approved license applications and, when requested, a certified list of all licenses issued in the county. The Superintendent shall maintain a registry of all persons who have been issued concealed weapons licenses.
West Virginia exempts from its prohibition against carrying concealed deadly weapons without a license residents of other states that have been issued licenses to carry concealed weapons where that state has entered into a reciprocity agreement with West Virginia, subject to the limitations of state law. West Virginia also requires the holder of an out-of-state permit to:
- Be 21 years of age or older;
- Have the permit or license in his or her immediate possession; and
- Not be a resident of West Virginia.
The West Virginia attorney general may execute reciprocity agreements with another state if:
- The standards for issuing a concealed handgun license or permit in the other state are equal to or greater than the standards in West Virginia;
- West Virginia's law enforcement officers have continuous access to data bases on the criminal information network, 24 hours per day, seven days per week, to verify the continued validity of the out-of-state license or permit;
- The other state grants the right to carry a concealed handgun to residents of West Virginia who have valid West Virginia concealed deadly weapons licenses; and
- The state agrees to apprise West Virginia of changes in its permitting standards and requirements.
Every 12 months, the attorney general must inquire of the concealed handgun permitting authorities in each other state whether a West Virginia concealed weapons licensee may carry a concealed handgun in their state…
[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]