I recently had a client who was charged with a minor criminal offense for carrying an unloaded pistol, in a case, in his vehicle. Insofar as I have done this myself on various occasions, I admittedly had to conduct some research, speak with law enforcement, and review the laws – both to determine why he was charged and to ensure my understanding of and compliance with the laws.
**Please note, that this blog is meant as a primer on some of the most common concealed carry laws and issues in the state of West Virginia and is not a comprehensive review of all pertinent rules, exceptions and peculiarities. This is a quick review and is not a substitute for knowing the laws, including those of some local municipalities (e.g. Charleston and Martinsburg, et al.).
What are the Concealed Carry Laws in West Virginia?
- Concealed carry in WV is illegal, without a permit/license.
- A concealed carry license “shall issue” in WV, upon properly supported application to the county Sheriff.
- No license is required to carry a firearm, for the following purposes:
- transport in vehicle, unloaded, between home/work and gun shop, range, or a hunting location,
- on your person while hunting, and
- on your own premises or the private premises of another with permission.
- Carrying a concealed firearm in your vehicle without a license or one of the stated purposes is illegal.
- Carrying an UNCONCEALED non-hunting firearm in your vehicle is NOT illegal, as WV is an “open carry” state.
- Carrying an UNCONCEALED firearm on your person is not a violation of law, as WV is an “open carry” state.
- Even with a concealed carry permit, certain public places are off limits, including the following:
- Schools and school buses,
- VET (vocational education) facilities,
- Federal government offices,
- Magistrate and Family Law Masters offices (where separate from courthouse),
- Federal, State and County jail/prison facilities,
- Where prohibited or posted by premises/business owners (technically this would be trespassing)
Finally, as pertains to hunting rifles, the following applies:
- Hunting rifles must be unloaded and cased, in a vehicle, during non-hunting hours.
Once again, this article is meant as a quick reference to some of the most common rules and issues relating to concealed carry and transportation of a weapon in the state of West Virginia. This is by no means an exhaustive treatment of the subject. If you have any questions about a peculiar situation, we suggest that you contact a local attorney or law enforcement officer to discuss. If you or someone you know has been arrested and charged with a firearms violation, please do not hesitate to contact our lawyers to discuss your legal rights and potential defenses. We can be reached through our website at Adams Legal Group, PLLC or at (304) 381-2166.
(P.S. – Happily, as far as I can recall, each instance where I have transported guns in a vehicle in the past, fit within one of the exceptions identified above).