Disclaimer: It is our goal to keep the information on this page, and this website, as up to date as possible. With that said, it is ultimately your responsibility to verify the handgun law in your states of interest. The information on this page is for informational purposes only. The information presented on this page and on this website is not legal advice, and should not be treated as such. This content is subject to change without notice. We recommend subscribing to be notified when the content on this page and on this site changes. Note: The processes listed below apply to the majority of people. If you are active-duty military, honorably discharged military, law enforcement, or retired law enforcement, the processes below may be slightly different (easier) when applying for a concealed carry permit.
Types of Concealed Carry Permits
Note: West Virginia sometimes refers to their concealed carry permits as a concealed handgun license (CHL).
1) Resident – Normal License
- Must be a minimum of 21 years old to apply
- Must reside in West Virginia
- Valid for 5 years
- Costs $100 (+$Training Course)
2) Resident – Provisional License
- Must be a minimum of 18 years old to apply
- Must reside in West Virginia
- Valid until your 21st birthday
- Costs $40 (+$Training Course)
Note: Any resident or non-resident that is 21 years old and can legally possess a firearm may concealed or open carry. No permit is required in this case.
Is it Required to Carry Concealed?
No – you may open carry or carry concealed.
May Issue or Shall Issue?
West Virginia is a shall issue state, meaning the law states that they shall issue a permit if you meet all requirements.
Process to Apply
To get a normal concealed handgun license in West Virginia, you are required to apply at the sheriff’s office in your county of residence.
- Complete a handgun training course that includes live fire. Generally, the following are accepted courses:
- Any official National Rifle Association handgun safety or training course.
- Any handgun safety or training course offered by a law-enforcement organization, college, or organization that utilizes instructors duly certified by the institution.
- Any handgun training or safety course conducted by a handgun instructor certified by the state or the National Rifle Association.
- Any handgun training or safety course conducted by any branch of the United States Military, Reserve or National Guard.
- Go to the sheriff’s office in your county of residence to complete the application. Bring the following items:
- A copy of the training certificate that proves you completed a WV approved handgun training course.
- Your WV state issued I.D. or driver’s license.
- Application fee: A check or money order for $75 made payable to the sheriff’s office in your county of residence.
- Background check fee: A check or money order for $25 made payable to the state police.
- After these steps are completed, the sheriff’s office will take a complete set of fingerprints to be used to initiate your criminal background check.
After these steps are completed, the department processing the application is legally required to inform you in 45 days or less whether the permit has been approved or denied. A denial, whether it be for a new issue or a renewal, may be appealed.
The application process is the same to get a provisional concealed handgun license as it is when applying for the normal license. However, the application fee is $25 and the background check fee is $15, for a total of $40 as compared to the $100 it is for the normal license.
Reasons an Applicant Won’t Be Approved
If the applicant meets any of the following conditions, his/her application is almost guaranteed to be denied:
- You are illegally in the United States.
- You’ve been convicted of a felony.
- You’ve been convicted of a violent crime, including domestic violence.
- You’ve been convicted of a crime punishable by a prison term greater than 1 year.
- You’ve been convicted of 2 or more DUIs within the last 6 years.
- You are subject to a restraining order or other similar court order.
- You are a drug addict, habitual drunkard, an unlawful user of any controlled substance, or are determined to be of unsound mind.
- You have a mental illness.
- You’ve received voluntary or involuntary treatment in a psychiatric hospital, mental institution, or similar treatment facility for any reason.
- You’ve been ordered by a court to complete an alcohol or substance abuse treatment program in the last 3 years.
- You are a fugitive from justice.
- You’ve been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
- You are subject to a firearms seizure order.
Location Restrictions for Carrying
It is unlawful to carry a handgun, even if you have a concealed carry permit, in the following locations:
- Federal buildings.
- Federal prisons.
- Courthouses, or any facility that hosts a court.
- Jails, prisons, detention facilities, or correctional facilities.
- At the State Capitol Complex.
- Any building or area owned or operated by a municipality that enacts ordinances that prohibit the carrying of firearms. Municipality owned buildings typically include courthouses, city hall, convention centers, recreation centers, and administrative buildings (like DMVs, law enforcement offices, etc). Signs should be posted to inform you of a prohibited municipal area.
- Indian reservations.
- Post offices.
- Military bases.
- School property.
- Passed the security checkpoint at airports.
- Anywhere you decide to consume alcohol. You cannot carry a firearm if you consume any alcohol.
Transporting a Handgun Through & Throughout WV
Whether you have a concealed carry permit or not, as long as you can legally possess a handgun and are at least 21 years of age you may transport a loaded handgun on your person (open or concealed) in a vehicle.
Additional Notes About WV Handgun Law
Does WV Law Incorporate Stand Your Ground?
Yes. The Stand Your Ground law permits you to use force, and not retreat, when faced with a threat. Stand Your Ground protects your use of force, even deadly force, when used to protect yourself or others if you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death. To be protected under Stand Your Ground, you must be in a place where you have the lawful right to be.
Does WV Law Incorporate the Castle Doctrine?
Yes. The Castle Doctrine is similar to Stand Your Ground. The Castle Doctrine permits you to use force (even deadly force), and not retreat, when you’re in your own home. This again assumes you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death on yourself or others in your home. This ‘castle’ is sometimes broadened to cover you when you’re in your yard, car, etc. Each state’s Castle Doctrine law is written differently – consult your state’s law to confirm if your state extends the meaning of a ‘castle’ to cover more than just your home.
Reciprocity – What State Permits Does WV Recognize?
WV recognizes the following states’ concealed carry permits, so long as the permit was issued to someone 21 years of age or older:
**Note: Any resident or non-resident that is 21 years old and can legally possess a firearm may concealed or open carry. No permit is required in this case. Therefore, it doesn’t matter what permits are or aren’t honored by WV. It also doesn’t make sense that they don’t currently honor every other states’ permit.
Reciprocity – Where is the WV Permit Recognized?
The WV concealed handgun license is recognized in the following states:
- July 15, 2017 – “State Parks” removed from Locations Restrictions section, as concealed carry in state parks is now legal.
- September 1, 2017 – West Virginia now honors the Wisconsin permit – graphic updated.
- March 24, 2018 – Minnesota now honors the West Virginia permit – graphic updated.
- March 31, 2018 – West Virginia now recognizes the Montana permit – graphic updated.