The Concealed Carry Guide

This guide will show you everything you need to know about owning a handgun in West Virginia.

Learn the facts on West Virginia gun laws, reciprocity and the concealed handgun license (CHL).

Sound good? Lets dive right in...

west virginia state seal

West Virginia gun laws are some of the least restrictive in the USA. West Virginia is one of the growing number of constitutional carry states with no requirement to have a licence to carry a firearm provided the person is at least 18 years old and is legally entitled to have a firearm under state and federal law. To conceal carry without a license a person must be 21 years or older. If an 18 - 20 year old wishes to conceal carry they would require a Provisional CHL license. However, they are allowed to open carry without a CHL license. If you need to travel out of state then you can still obtain a concealed handgun license provided you are a resident of West Virginia.

West Virginia CHL Quick Facts

Carry In Vehicle YES
Must Notify Officer NO
Carry In State Parks Allowed YES
No Gun Signs Enforced NO
Open Carry Permitted YES
Carry In Restaurant YES
Constitutional Carry YES
total active ccw
licenses in West Virginia

Gun Laws

State rating
states that honor
a WV license
state licenses
WV honors
states not
honoring license

Kentucky Dashboard

total active CCW
licenses in kentucky

Gun Laws

State Rating
states Permit
honored in

KY Honors

states permit
not honored
with permit

West Virginia CHL Reciprocity

West Virginia
  • Permit Honored
  • Permit not honored
  • Carry allowed / does not recognize
  • Issuing state

How Reciprocity Works in West Virginia

West Virginia honors non-resident and resident CCW licenses from states that are on the West Virginia reciprocity list provided the licensee is 21 years or older. However, the honoring of out-of-state CCW licenses does not matter anymore as West Virginia is a permitless carry state. This in effect means any person who is 21 or older, and can legally possess a firearm may now carry a concealed weapon without any type of license.

West Virginia Reciprocity State's


Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wyoming
states & Districts

California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington.

Districts & Territories
District of Columbia


Residents of West Virginia are permitted to carry a concealed firearm in Oklahoma without any license provided they carry with them at all times their WV state ID.
gun holster finder
gun belt

West Virginia CHL License

West Virginia Issue Policy

Unrestricted, Shall Issue

License Issued To

Residents, Military

CHL License Overview
Despite West Virginia being a constitutional carry state (permitless), concealed carry licenses can still be obtained for those that want to travel to other states. A "Shall Issue" policy is still in effect for any person that applies for a CHL license.

Two types of licenses are issued;
  • Provisional license - For any person aged from 18 - 21. The license is valid for 3 years but expires when the licensee turns 21 years old.
  • Optional License - Issued for 5 years to any person who meets the criteria and is at least 21 years old.

Non-Resident Licenses

West Virginia does not issue non-resident licenses.

Handgun Training
To apply for an optional or provisional CHL, you must present evidence that you have successfully completed one of the following training courses:
  1. Any official NRA handgun safety or training course;
  2. Any handgun safety or training course or class 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 school utilizing instructors certified by the institution;
  3. Any handgun safety or training course or class conducted by a handgun instructor certified by the State or by the NRA; or
  4. For optional CHLs only, any handgun training or safety course or class conducted by any branch of the United States military, reserve or National Guard or proof of other handgun qualification received while serving in any branch of the United States military, reserve or National Guard. For provisional CHLs, any proof of current or former service in the United States armed forces, reserves or National Guard. An applicant must present a photocopy of a certificate of course completion, an affidavit from the instructor, or some other document which verifies successful completion of the required training course in order to obtain a CHL. The document must include the instructor’s name, signature and NRA or state instructor identification number, if applicable.


Follow these steps to obtain a concealed carry permit;

  1. Complete your firearm training course.
  2. Download the application form.
  3. You will need the following documents;
  • Completed application
  • Firearms course certificate
  • Drivers license/ID card
  • File your application at the Sheriffs office in the county you reside in.
  • They will contact you when the permit/license is ready to be picked up.
  • cost of
    CHL License
    Years Permit
    is valid

    West Virginia CHL Forms

    Download Your Forms

    West Virginia: Places Off-Limits for CHL

    west virginia state flag
    West Virginia state flag

    Places Off-Limits in West Virginia

    • The State Capitol Complex
    • Regional jails, detention facilities or State Division of Corrections facilities
    • County courthouses or any facility housing a court of this state
    • A school bus or any public primary or secondary education building, structure, facility or grounds including a vocational education building, structure, facility or grounds where secondary vocational education programs are conducted or at a school-sponsored function, or in or on a private primary or secondary education building, structure or facility
    • Any building or area limited by municipal code. Certain municipalities may have further handgun restrictions in municipal code. Before carrying a weapon in a West Virginia municipality, it is recommended that you inquire as to such laws with the appropriate city attorney’s office
    • Any property where firearms are prohibited by the owner, lessee or other person charged with the care, custody and control of the real property
    • Wherever signs are posted indicating weapon restrictions
    • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law.

    Places Allowed in West Virginia

    • State parks
    • State and national forests
    • Road side rest areas
    • Vehicle
    • All areas of the state - except those listed as off limits

    Pointers: West Virginia Gun Laws

    Permitless carry bill passes

    Open carry or concealed carry

    West Virginia Concealed Carry Laws

    west virginia state capitol building
    West Virginia state capitol building

    West Virginia Gun Laws To Know

    YES - Without a license

    There is no requirement for a CHL license to carry a firearm in a vehicle provided the person is at least 21 years old, a US citizen and is not prohibited from possessing a firearm under state and federal laws.

    Members of the military aged 18 and over can carry in a vehicle with only their military ID.

    From the State Police website - It is strongly recommended that, if you do not have a valid concealed carry permit, while traveling in a vehicle, that all firearms be unloaded and cased in a location in the vehicle that is not readily accessible to any of the occupants. Any ammunition should be stored in a separate location from the firearm.

    NO - Must Inform Officer

    There is nothing in West Virginia gun laws that states you must inform a law enforcement officer you have a firearm when approached on official business. There is also no mention that you must carry your permit/license.

    GunsToCarry always recommends that you carry your permit, together with photo ID, at all times during which you are in actual possession of a concealed handgun.

    The Law

    YES - Without a license

    Open carry is legal in West Virginia without a license, but not in places listed as off-limits. Municipalities can enforce ordinances that ban the open carry of firearms in recreation facilities owned by the municipality.

    The minimum age for open carry is 18.


    “No Weapons” signs are not mentioned in West Virginia gun laws. There are no legal penalties for entering a private property or business that has posted these signs. They have no force of law unless they are posted in areas that are mentioned by the law as being off limits.

    GunsToCarry recommends that you do not enter a property displaying a “No Weapons" sign whether the law is for or against signage. If asked to leave a property and you refuse to do so then you are breaking the law and put yourself at risk of being charged.


    You are permitted to carry in the following areas;

    • State Parks:       YES - 20.2.5 & WVDNR - Must be concealed and no long guns, unless hunting.
    • State/National Forests:     YES
    • State Wildlife Management Areas:     YES
    • Road Side Rest Areas:     YES


    In Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

    "Yes" or "No" states if you can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Some restaurants may be posted with "NO GUN" signs. Check with the staff if this means just the bar area. If we have indicated a "Yes" then it should be legal to have a meal without drinking alcohol.

    West Virginia is a constitutional carry state, no CCW license is required if the person is legally able to possess a firearm.
    "A person has the right to keep and bear arms for the defense of self, family, home, and state, and for lawful hunting and recreational use."
    (Art. 3, Section 22)

    West Virginia Off-Limit Statutes

    Other West Virginia Statutes

    For information on other states handgun laws please go back to the state laws page and select the state you are interested in.

    History Of West Virginia Gun Laws


    Learn West Virginia's Gun History


    Castle doctrine is enacted into West Virginia law.


    On May 24, 2016 West Virginia became a constitutional carry state requiring no permit to carry a concealed weapon.

    West Virginia CHL FAQ's


    West Virginia CCW Contact

    Mongolia County Sheriff


    Monday – Friday 9am – 5pm

    Saturday Closed

    Sunday Closed


    Address 116 Walnut St.

    CityMorgantown, WV 26505

    Phone (304) 291-7260

    Updates & Data Sources


    The information contained on this page is not legal advice but is merely a starting point for your own research. It is up to you to decide what the best course of action is for your circumstances. We are not lawyers, if you'd like individualized legal advice, we'd be happy to refer you to some law practices with known firearm specializations. It is crucial that you understand the law before you carry a firearm. Also, remember that just because a statute may clearly say one thing or another, that doesn't mean all members of law enforcement know it. That also goes for lawyers and even judges too.


    1. Monongalia county not Mongolia. Monongalia County is on the Monongahela (roughly translated: river with sliding banks) River. The county name was probably misspelled by the Virginia Assembly when the county was created and the name stuck. There are two or three other counties in West Virginia or Western Virginia that are inappropriately named because the assembly didn’t really care about the western part of the state of Virginia before the Civil War. This is one of several reasons there is a West Virginia today.

    2. What are the laws about open carry with ak 47 or ar 15 in west virginia.
      I can’t find any information about long guns.only hand gun regulations are listed.

      1. Not generally done, but I do not think anything prohibits open carry of rifles.

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      1. From my experience yes I’ve been in a few traffic stops and I notified the officers I had a gun that was loaded and had a round in the chamber and they just took the gun while they ran my info and gave it back when they were done. Hope this helps.

        1. They knew you had a permit before they approached you. For years the Canadian border officials have known my wife and I had a CCW before they said word one. I can only assume they have this info in an auto registration database that is widely shared between law enforcement entities.

    5. What happens if I received my CHL while being a WV resident but I have now changed my residency to another state. Is my license now invalid?

      1. Your CCW is invalid if you move to another county and possibly address in the same county within WV as I understand as it is issued by the county Sheriff and can be used in lieu of a NICS check if the firearms dealer is willing.

      2. I don’t think so if your in state but as long as your in a state with reporocity you should b ok I won’t change my dl I keep the WV one but if you have already idk

    6. If you are not an American resident, but living in WV for work with a valid visa, is it legal to purchase a firearm?

      1. If you can pass a NICS check you should be good to go. I think a student visa will work too.

      1. From my experience yes I’ve been in a few traffic stops and I notified the officers I had a gun that was loaded and had a round in the chamber and they just took the gun while they ran my info and gave it back when they were done. Hope this helps.

    7. Yes needs links changed to West Virginia info on some areas showing Kentucky.

    8. A lot of this info is for Kentucky instead of WV. Also, it should be “Monongalia County” instead of Mongolia.

    9. In reciprocity, the lists say Kentucky instead of West Virginia…

    10. Ohio Senate bill 81 recently passed changes that active duty and veterans do not have to pay for CCL or renewal fees.
      Will W.V. adopt this to honor our veterans?

    11. In WV there is a state preemption law that supercedes municipal code.

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