Posted on January 1, 2012
Last updated April 18, 2012
In our publication Gun Laws Matter 2012: Understanding the Link Between Weak Laws and Gun Violence, the Law Center ranked each state based on a review of state laws in 29 different firearms-related policy areas. West Virginia ranked 37th out of 50 – having enacted few gun violence prevention laws.
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;
- 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 2009, West Virginia ranked 14th among the states in number of gun deaths per capita. 251 people died from firearm-related injuries in West Virginia in that year. In addition, based on data published by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, in 2009, West Virginia supplied the 2nd highest number of crime guns to other states per capita, and the state exports far more crime guns than it imports.
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.