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Thread: Shooting Laws in WV?

  1. #1
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    Shooting Laws in WV?

    I've searched all over the place online and cannot figure out where it is legal to discharge a firearm in WV.

    We moved here from California a year ago where there are very strict laws - like you cannot shoot even one shot at all/anywhere in L.A. County for instance.
    Our property is about 2/3 of an acre - but in a residential neighborhood so we wouldn't even consider shooting around here.

    There are places in West Virginia that have public gun ranges - http://www.wvdnr.gov/hunting/SRanges.shtm
    But they are not anywhere near where we live, and there are some nightmare stories about some of them.

    We would join a gun range, but we're not going to stay in WV very much longer, and none of them seem to have a daily fee rate.

    We are first time gun owners - just a 22 pistol for plinking - not hunting where they have these laws - http://www.wvdnr.gov/hunting/laws.shtm - so just wondering if we go out in the sticks some place on privately owned land, (not parks or state/county/city land) and shoot a bit if that's legal?

    Anyone have WV specific knowledge and hopefully an online link to the laws - specifically on shooting?

  2. #2
    Regular Member twoskinsonemanns's Avatar
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    Here's all I have concerning general laws for shooting.

    20-2-58. Shooting across road or near building or crowd; penalty.
    It shall be unlawful for any person to shoot or discharge any firearms across or in any public road in this state, at any time, or within four hundred feet of any schoolhouse or church, or within five hundred feet of any dwelling house, or on or near any park or other place where persons gather for purposes of pleasure, and any person violating this section is guilty of a misdemeanor: Provided, That any person operating a gun repair shop, licensed to do business in the state of West Virginia and duly licensed under applicable federal statutes, may be exempted from the prohibition established by this section and section twelve, article seven, chapter sixty-one of this code for the purpose of test firing a firearm. The director of the department of natural resources shall prescribe such rules as may be necessary to carry out the purposes of the exemption under this section and section twelve, article seven, chapter sixty-one and shall ensure that any person residing in any dwelling home within five hundred feet of such gun repair shop be given an opportunity to protest the granting of such exemption.

    As far as being on private land shooting (assuming you have their permission) you should be fine if are not near anything (see above law).

    HOWEVER!

    As you have already linked, WV has some nonsensical and convoluted DNR regulations that seem to be in place to prevent poaching but could be used to trip you up. The following rule is obviously geared at poachers but strictly technically speaking I don't see where an exception is made for target practice.

    Rule 4. (It is illegal to)Carry an uncased or loaded firearm in the woods, except during open firearms hunting seasons.

    I am not a lawyer. I hope this helps. Welcome to OCDO!
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    For what its worth.......

    I have an email from dnrlaw, stating any shooting outside of an established shooting range will be considered hunting, and that applies to all property in the state of WV, even private land. A stretch on their part for sure, but nevertheless shows the mentality of the organization. I'm sure you could get the same email, or at least something similar, takes about 1 year of back and forth with them to get any answers.

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    Regular Member Sig229's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ex Pat View Post
    For what its worth.......

    I have an email from dnrlaw, stating any shooting outside of an established shooting range will be considered hunting, and that applies to all property in the state of WV, even private land. A stretch on their part for sure, but nevertheless shows the mentality of the organization. I'm sure you could get the same email, or at least something similar, takes about 1 year of back and forth with them to get any answers.
    My god, WV DNR are almost as bad as what we had to put up with in Maryland.
    I cannot believe that Poaching is that bad in WV to order a state wide no discharge law/rule in any public wooded lands.

    I like to OC my M4 or AK when I go hiking, but I guess thats not possible in WV?
    "Let your gun be your constant companion during your walks" ~Thomas Jefferson

  5. #5
    Regular Member twoskinsonemanns's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sig229 View Post
    My god, WV DNR are almost as bad as what we had to put up with in Maryland.
    I cannot believe that Poaching is that bad in WV to order a state wide no discharge law/rule in any public wooded lands.

    I like to OC my M4 or AK when I go hiking, but I guess thats not possible in WV?
    It's stupid. I don't have any number in front of me but I bet the deer population is very high. I have seen deer every single day I have driven for the last weeks. And normally it at LEAST 50-50 I see one before I get out of my sub division. But government will always insert itself where it will.
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    Gary Johnson-
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    "If you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns."

  6. #6
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    Get a WV hunting phamplet, you can shoot as long as you are 500ft from a house, or 400ft from a church. It is very specific about being in the woods during off hunting season with a gun. Our game laws is where you can get in trouble OC'ing in WV. Our laws make NO differance between self defence weapons and hunting weapons. For instance the WV State Police web site says you can OC in a car, game laws say NO LOADED FIREARMS in a car. A LEO cannot cite you for a loaded self defence weapon in a car, but a Wildlife Resource police officer can. If you OC in the woods and its not hunting season you can get cited for hunting out of season, but you can CC in the woods when its not hunting season if you have a CC permit. If your gonna OC in WV LEARN THE GAME LAWS. A LEO can hold you until a Wildlife Resource Police Officer get's on site.
    I open carry when I go fishing, water fowl season is coming up, if im fishing while OC'ing it ok, but if water fowl season is in, I had better have a hunting liscens and a water fowl permit, and if my self defence weapon is not legal for water fowl hunting, im in trouble. Get the picture. Learn all the laws well in our wonderful state before you OC.
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  7. #7
    Regular Member Sig229's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eamelhorn View Post
    Get a WV hunting phamplet, you can shoot as long as you are 500ft from a house, or 400ft from a church. It is very specific about being in the woods during off hunting season with a gun. Our game laws is where you can get in trouble OC'ing in WV. Our laws make NO differance between self defence weapons and hunting weapons. For instance the WV State Police web site says you can OC in a car, game laws say NO LOADED FIREARMS in a car. A LEO cannot cite you for a loaded self defence weapon in a car, but a Wildlife Resource police officer can.
    That crap needs to be changed now. Perhaps the WVCDL and a bunch of us can mount a campaign to try and get those incredibly stupid laws changed.

    Now that I work in WV and will soon be moving to Morgantown, I really want to get involved with this effort.

    I didnt move from Maryland to escape a bunch of stupid gun laws and end up living in a state where they say you can OC in a car and on foot. But if you are anywhere near a patch of woods you can be arrested for it.

    I have found that a lot of things in WV dont make much sense, but these laws are beyond stupid.
    "Let your gun be your constant companion during your walks" ~Thomas Jefferson

  8. #8
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    WVCDL was working on it, now that our best defence has passed away Jim Mullins hopefully someone will step up to the plate. Most people dont relize the conflict between game laws and other state laws. Most Wildlife police understand this, but if they had a bad day they can take it out on you. I took it upon myself to learn the laws myself and not just take someones word for it. The game pamphlet will help you aot with understanding what im trying to say. Even LE will tell you there is a gray area, and discretion is left up to the officer on the sence.
    I am not a gun nut, nor am I a nut with a gun
    I simply rufuse to be a helpless victim, I may be unable to stop myself from being a victim but at least I wont be helpless

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