West Virginia has very weak gun laws, earning an F in our Annual Gun Law Scorecard. The state does not require individuals to undergo a background check or obtain a permit to carry a loaded, concealed firearm in public. In 2017, West Virginia had the ninth-highest gun death rate in the country and exported crime guns at the second-highest rate. Basic steps West Virginia could take to save lives from gun violence include requiring a background check and waiting period before each gun purchase and repealing its dangerous permitless carry law.
State Law Background
West Virginia does not:
- Require a background check prior to the transfer of a firearm between unlicensed individuals;
- Require firearms dealers to obtain a state license;
- Regulate the transfer or possession of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles, or large capacity ammunition magazines;
- Require gun owners to obtain a license, register their firearms, or report lost or stolen firearms;
- Require reporting of mental health records to the NICS database;
- Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time;
- Impose a waiting period before the sale of a firearm;
- Regulate unsafe handguns (“junk guns” or “Saturday night specials”);
- Significantly regulate ammunition;
- Allow local governments to regulate firearms; or
- Give local law enforcement discretion to deny a concealed handgun permit.
In 2017, West Virginia had the 9th highest gun death rate among the states. West Virginia also supplied crime guns to other states at the second highest rate among the states. West Virginia exported crime guns at more than three times the national rate and more than three times the rate at which it imported crime guns from other states.
West Virginia Firearms Laws
For details about specific firearms laws in West Virginia, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.