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West Virginia Gun Laws: Can Visitors Carry Their Firearm?

Image: West Virginia Gun Laws: Can Visitors Carry Their Firearm?
Flag of West Virginia. (Juergen Priewe/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Monday, 06 Apr 2015 08:34 PM

Visitors to and through West Virginia should be familiar with the state's gun laws before traveling with a firearm in the Mountain State.

Gun laws and the interstate transportation of firearms vary greatly from state to state; what may be lawful in one state may be unlawful in another including, but not limited to, the ability to lawfully carry a firearm either openly or concealed, with or without a permit, loaded or unloaded. The allowance for carrying a firearm in a vehicle will also be different depending if a person has a permit honored in that state.

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In West Virginia, valid out-of-state permits or licenses to possess or carry a handgun are valid for carrying a concealed handgun, if the following conditions are met:
1. The permit holder is 21 years of age or older.
2. The permit is in the person’s immediate possession.
3. The permit holder is not a resident of West Virginia and
4. The permit was issued by a state that has reciprocity with West Virginia.

The term “reciprocity” means there is a mutual recognition between the two states to recognize each other’s permits. Although the permit allows the holder to carry a concealed weapon in West Virginia, the visiting permit holder will still be subject to the same laws and restrictions in the same manner that a West Virginia permit holder must comply with the laws of the state. This includes being familiar with prohibited carry locations, and the allowance of open versus concealed carry in specific municipal buildings.

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Specific to a motor vehicle, a visitor to West Virginia who has an out-of-state permit that is valid in West Virginia may carry a loaded, concealed handgun for defensive purposes. If the visitor does not have a permit valid in West Virginia, the defensive handgun must be in plain view and unloaded. The term “unloaded” in West Virginia includes having a loaded magazine not in or attached to the firearm.

Visitors should be mindful that if they are carrying an unconcealed handgun and are stopped by a law enforcement officer, the presence of the handgun may attract attention. A visitor may choose to comply with the federal law of having the unloaded firearm in a locked container not readily accessible by any of the occupants (excluding the glove box or console) such as the trunk, completely separated from ammunition.

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Visitors to and through West Virginia should be familiar with the state's gun laws before traveling with a firearm in the Mountain State.
west virginia, gun laws, visitors, firearm
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2015-34-06
Monday, 06 Apr 2015 08:34 PM
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