In West Virginia, adults can purchase a gun without a license. However, you must obtain a concealed handgun license to carry a concealed gun in your car or on (or near) your body, unless you are in your own home, on your own property, or at your place of business. (W. Va. Code § 61-7-4.)
For more information, see Open and Concealed Gun Carrying Laws in West Virginia.
How to Obtain a Concealed Handgun License in West Virginia
To obtain a concealed handgun license, you must apply at the sheriff’s office in the county where you reside. To qualify, you must:
- be at least 21 years old, or at least 18 years old if you are required to carry a concealed weapon as a condition for your employment
- be a resident of West Virginia, and of the county where you are applying for a permit
- not be addicted to or an unlawful user of alcohol or a controlled substance
- not have been convicted of a felony or any act of violence involving the misuse of a deadly weapon
- not have been convicted of certain specified misdemeanors
- not be currently under indictment, serving a sentence, or under a protective order for certain domestic violence crimes
- physically and mentally competent to carry a weapon, and never adjudicated as mentally incompetent
- successfully complete a handgun safety and training course, and
- pay a $15 fee.
(W. Va. Code § 61-7-4.)
Does West Virginia Recognize Concealed Handgun Licenses From Other States?
Yes. West Virginia recognizes concealed handgun carry permits issued by states with whom West Virginia has reciprocity agreements, as long as the permit holder:
- is at least 21 years old
- has the permit in the person’s possession, and
- is not a West Virginia resident.
(W. Va. Code § 61-7-6a.)
The West Virginia Attorney General’s website provides a list of states with reciprocity agreements with West Virginia.
Penalties for Failing to Obtain a Concealed Handgun License
It is a misdemeanor to carry a handgun in West Virginia without a concealed carry license (unless you are in your own home, on your own property, or at your fixed place of business). Penalties for a first offense include a fine of at least $100 (and up to $1,000), up to 12 months in jail, or both. Second and subsequent offenses incur a fine of at least $1,000 (and up to $5,000), at least one year (and up to five years) in prison, or both. (W. Va. Code § 61-7-3.)
Getting Legal Help
If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to carry a gun in West Virginia, or if you are facing charges for a gun permit violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.