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Thread: Visiting Belle, West Virginia

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    Hey guys, my wife and I are planning to visit Belle,West Virginia for a wedding. I have been told that the only 2 cities that prohibited open carry were Charleston and Dunbar. Other than that the state's lawsover rule local ordances. However, I have heard that even though open carry is legal many LEO's will hassle you if you do open carry. Has anyone ever open carried in West Virginia? Were you ever hassled? Is there any truth to this? Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    In liberty,

    Chuck

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    You know, that's one issue we need to get squared away for WV on OpenCarry.org - which cities have non-preempted bans on open carry. Can anyone confirm this report that ionly these two cities have bans not preempted?

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    My brother works in Charleston and is planning to check into the preemptionissue.

    I'll post more information as he finds out anything.

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    Parkersburg is an open carry city as quoted by a Parkersburg Police officer. No provisions currently exist to ban it.

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    Well......here is the first Charleston update. We have what I think is erroneous information from a Charleston LEO.

    Based on a reading of the WV Code and the Charleston statutes, it is clear that concealed carry is allowed in Charleston. What is not clear, is whether open carry is allowed.

    The particular Charleston Lt my brother talked to said that there was no prohibition on open carry in Charleston as far as he knew with or without a permit. He also said that he had no problem with it but other LEO's might hassle him for open carry.

    The Charleston statute says otherwise but this LEO did not know of the statute.

    But that is to be expected. When lawyers can't agree on what the law is, how can we expect LEO's to know everything?

    We (my brother and I) are planning to make this a project to determine which local jurisdictions are grandfathered and what their carry rules are.

    More as we find out additional information.

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    I have carried openly many times in WV without any issues at all. Walked by LEO's many times and they have never said word one about it.

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    Unofficially it is unlawful to open carry a firearm in Beckley, WV. Talked to a city LEO, I'm going to have to talk to the chief's office and city attorney to get a official confirmation.

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    militaryace wrote:
    Unofficially it is unlawful to open carry a firearm in Beckley, WV. Talked to a city LEO, I'm going to have to talk to the chief's office and city attorney to get a official confirmation.
    Whoa Whoa Whoa. What do you mean unofficially? Do they have an ordinance against open carry? Is it properly grandfathered under WV preemption?

    We need you to run this down - so far nobody has found a grandfathered open carry ban in any WV localitiy - if they start popping up as confirmed, then WV's Gold Star status is in question.

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    I plan on finding out on the 3rd, when I talk to the chief and the mayor's office. I will let everyone know as soon as I find out.

    The strange thing about the code is that a person with a concealed weapons permit is allowed, as long as is it's not showing. No public display of a handgun on your self within city limits. Unless your a law enforcement officer or a govt. official.




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    militaryace wrote:
    I plan on finding out on the 3rd, when I talk to the chief and the mayor's office. I will let everyone know as soon as I find out.

    The strange thing about the code is that a person with a concealed weapons permit is allowed, as long as is it's not showing. No public display of a handgun on your self within city limits. Unless your a law enforcement officer or a govt. official.


    What code? Link?

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    It is a city ordinance.

    from a friend.....

    There is a city ordinance against the open carry of a firearm within the city limits of Beckley. I know this because when I first moved to Beckley I worked as Campus Security at mainly at the dorms. I was informed that if I was allowed to carry my weapon on school property, but if I stepped outside of the campus into the City limits of Beckley it was required that I carry my weapon concealed.

    My wife who is getting ready to graduate with her B.S. in Pre-Law, and start her M.S. in the same, had questioned this due to our right to carry under the U.S. Constitution, and West Virginia being a right to carry state. She was informed that since it is a city ordinance that it could really only be enforced by City Law Enforcement officers. However this is not always the case, but in most cases if appealed to a higher court these charges could be dismissed due to the fact that it isn't a law, but just an ordinance that applies to the City of Beckley. This information came from Capt.(Name Removed), Ret. of the Beckley Police Department when he was the Firearms Instructor for the (Institution Name Removed). This is also the case for the state of Florida, where in the only way a person can legally carry any weapon is concealed, with a permit of course. Just a little extra info F.Y.I.


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    militaryace wrote:
    It is a city ordinance.

    from a friend.....

    There is a city ordinance against the open carry of a firearm within the city limits of Beckley. I know this because when I first moved to Beckley I worked as Campus Security at mainly at the dorms. I was informed that if I was allowed to carry my weapon on school property, but if I stepped outside of the campus into the City limits of Beckley it was required that I carry my weapon concealed.

    My wife who is getting ready to graduate with her B.S. in Pre-Law, and start her M.S. in the same, had questioned this due to our right to carry under the U.S. Constitution, and West Virginia being a right to carry state. She was informed that since it is a city ordinance that it could really only be enforced by City Law Enforcement officers. However this is not always the case, but in most cases if appealed to a higher court these charges could be dismissed due to the fact that it isn't a law, but just an ordinance that applies to the City of Beckley. This information came from Capt.(Name Removed), Ret. of the Beckley Police Department when he was the Firearms Instructor for the (Institution Name Removed). This is also the case for the state of Florida, where in the only way a person can legally carry any weapon is concealed, with a permit of course. Just a little extra info F.Y.I.
    Where is the ordinance?

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    The City of Beckley doesn't have it online, I am going to get a certified copy of it on Wednesday.

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    militaryace wrote:
    The City of Beckley doesn't have it online, I am going to get a certified copy of it on Wednesday.
    OK, you may find that nio such ordinance exists.

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    ace, just out of curiosity do you live in Beckley? I just moved from there to Princeton in August and I'm there at least once a week still. Let us know how things go when you talk to them Wednesday.

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    militaryace wrote:
    I plan on finding out on the 3rd, when I talk to the chief and the mayor's office. I will let everyone know as soon as I find out.

    The strange thing about the code is that a person with a concealed weapons permit is allowed, as long as is it's not showing. No public display of a handgun on your self within city limits. Unless your a law enforcement officer or a govt. official.


    Did this ever come about? If so let us know what happened.

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    Actually Beckley and Charleston has the codes online on municode. However, attempting to get to that site will get you a "page cannot be displayed" error. In fact, if you check municode, if you attempt to get to ANY online code, it'll show as "page cannot be displayed.

    http://www.municode.com/Resources/co...asp?stateID=48

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    Beckley

    Sec. 10-47. Same--Carrying deadly weapon without license of other authorization; penalties; exceptions. (a)Definitions. As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires: (1)Blackjack means a short bludgeon consisting, at the striking end, of an encased piece of lead or some other heavy substance and, at the handle end, a strap or springy shaft which increases the force of impact when a person or object is struck. The term "blackjack" shall include, but not be limited to, a billy, billy club, sand club, sandbag, or slapjack. (2)Gravity knife means any knife that has a blade released from the handle by the force of gravity or the application of centrifugal force and, when so released, is locked in place by means of a button, spring, lever, or other locking or catching device. (3)Knife means an instrument, intended to be used or readily adaptable to be used as a weapon, consisting of a sharp-edged or sharp-pointed blade, usually made of steel, attached to a handle, which is capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds. The term "knife" shall include, but not be limited to, any dagger, dirk, poniard, or stiletto with a blade over three and one-half (3 1/2) inches in length, any switchblade knife or gravity knife, and any other instrument capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing wounds. A pocket knife with a blade three and one-half (3 1/2) inches or less in length, a hunting or fishing knife carried for hunting, fishing, sports, or other recreational uses, or a knife designed from use as a tool or household implement shall not be included within the term "knife" as defined herein, unless such knife is knowingly used or intended to be used to produce serious bodily injury or death. (4)Switchblade knife means any knife having a spring-operated blade which opens automatically upon pressure being applied to a button, catch, or other releasing device in its handle. (5)Nunchuka means a flailing instrument consisting of two (2) or more rigid parts, connected by a chain, cable, rope, or other non-rigid, flexible, or springy material, constructed in such a manner as to allow the rigid parts to swing freely, so that one rigid part may be used as a handle and the other rigid part may be used as the striking end. (6)Metallic or false knuckles means a set of finger rings attached to a transverse piece, to be worn over the front of the hand for use as a weapon, and constructed in such a manner that, when striking another person with the fist or closed hand, considerable physical damage may be inflicted upon the person struck. The terms "metallic or false knuckles" shall include any such instrument, without reference to the metal or other substance or substances from which the metallic or false knuckles are made. (7)Pistol means a short firearm having a chamber which is integral with the barrel, designed to be aimed and fired by the use of a single hand. (8)Revolver means a short firearm having a cylinder of several chambers that are brought successively into line with the barrel to be discharged designed to be aimed and fired by the use of a single hand. (9)Deadly weapon means an instrument which is designed to be used to produce serious bodily injury or death, or is readily adaptable to such use. The term "deadly weapon" shall include, but not be limited to, the instruments defined in subdivisions (1) through (8) of this section, or other deadly weapons of like or character which may be easily concealed on or about the person. (10)Concealed means hidden from ordinary observation so as to prevent disclosure or recognition. A deadly weapon is concealed when it is carried on or about the person in such a manner that another person in the ordinary course of events would not be placed on notice that the deadly weapon was being carried. (11)Firearm means any weapon which will expel a projectile by action of an explosion. (12)Controlled substances shall have the same meaning as is ascribed to that term in West Virginia Code section 60A-1-101(d). (13)Drug shall have the same meaning as is ascribed to that term in West Virginia Code section 60A-1-101(1). (b)Any person who carries a concealed deadly weapon, without a state license or other lawful authorization, established under the provisions of this Code, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) and may be imprisoned in jail for not more than twelve (12) months. (c)The licensure provisions set forth in this section shall not apply to: (1)Any person carrying a deadly weapon upon his own premises; nor shall anything herein prevent a person from carrying any firearm, unloaded, from the place of purchase to his or her home, residence, or place of business or to a place of repair and back to his or her home, residence, or place of business, nor shall anything herein prohibit a person from possessing a firearm while hunting in a lawful manner or while traveling from his or her home, residence, or place of business to a hunting site, and returningto his or her home, residence, or place of business. (2)Any person who is a member of a properly organized target-shooting club authorized by law to obtain firearms by purchase or requisition from this state, or from the United States for the purpose of target practice, from carrying any pistol, as defined in this section, unloaded, from his home, residence, or place of business to a place of target practice, and from any such place of target practice back to his home, residence, or place of business, for using any such weapon at such place of target practice intraining and improving his skill in the use of such weapons. (3)Any law enforcement officer or law enforcement official as such are defined in section 30-29-1 of the West Virginia Code. (4)Any employee of the West Virginia Department of Corrections duly appointed pursuant to the provisions of section 28-5-5 of the West Virginia Code while such employee is on duty. (5)Any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or the militia of this state while such member is on duty. (6)Any circuit judge, including any retired circuit judge designated senior status by the Supreme Court of Appeals of West Virginia, prosecuting attorney, assistant prosecuting attorney, or a duly appointed investigator employed by a prosecuting attorney. (7)Any resident of another state, who has been issued a license to carry a concealed weapon by that state or a political subdivision thereof, shall be exempt from the licensing requirements. Provided, that such state or political subdivision thereof shall likewise recognize and honor West Virginia licenses issued pursuant to West Virginia Code section 61-7-4. (Code 1971, § 25-2; Ord. of 8-26-97) Charter references: Authority of council to apprehend and punish persons who, without state license, carry dangerous weapons, § 21(55). State law references: Similar provisions, W. Va. Code, § 61-7-1 et seq.

    Sec. 10-51. Same--Brandishing deadly weapons; threatening or causing breach of the peace; penalties. It shall be unlawful for any person armed with a firearm or other deadly weapon, whether licensed to carry the same or not, to carry, brandish, or use such weapon in a way or manner to cause, or threaten, a breach of the peace. Any person violating this section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and, upon conviction therefor, shall be fined not less than fifty dollars ($50.00) nor more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) or confined in the regional jail more than one year, or both. (Ord. of 8-26-97) State law references: Similar provisions, W. Va. Code, § 61-7-11.

    Charleston Ordinances

    Sec. 78-163. Carrying without license or other authorization. (a)It shall be unlawful for any person to carry on or about his person any revolver or pistol, dirk, bowie knife, slingshot, razor, billy, metallic or other false knuckles, or other dangerous or deadly weapon of like kind or character. (b)This section shall not be construed so as to prohibit the carrying of any weapon pursuant to licenses or other authorization issued under the authority of W. Va. Code § 61-7-2, nor shall it be construed to prevent the carrying of any weapon by persons exempted under W. Va. Code §§ 61-7-3--61-7-6. (Code 1975, § 18-66)
    Sec. 78-164. Carrying unlicensed or unauthorized weapons within designated areas of Kanawha Boulevard. (a)It shall be unlawful for any person to carry on or about his person in the following designated Sternwheel Regatta area: Kanawha Boulevard, East, from Capitol Street to Clendenin Street and from the north bank of the Kanawha River to the south sidewalk of Virginia Street, East, for ten days preceding Labor Day, and including Labor Day, any revolver or pistol, dirk, bowie knife, slingshot, razor, billy, metallic or other false knuckles, or other dangerous or deadly weapon of like kind or character. (b)This section shall not be construed so as to prohibit the carrying of any weapon pursuant to licenses or other authorization issued under the authority of W. Va. Code § 61-7-2, nor shall it be construed to prevent the carrying of any weapon by persons exempted under W. Va. Code §§ 61-7-3--61-7-6. (Ord. No. 4867, 8-17-1992)
    Sec. 78-165. Carrying weapons upon municipal public property. It shall be unlawful for any person to carry on or about his person any revolver or pistol, dirk, bowie knife, slingshot, razor, billy, metallic or other false knuckles, or other dangerous or deadly weapon of like kind or character in or upon city hall, municipal auditorium, the civic center, and all parks and recreation buildings ad facilities, including recreation centers, playgrounds, swimming pools, dressing areas, tennis courts, parks and recreation areas and all other buildings, structures, facilities, and grounds thereof, owned or occupied by the City of Charleston; however, the provisions of this section shall not apply to city, county, sate and federal law enforcement officers and to exhibitors and performers at city-sanctioned events who obtain advance written authorization from the chief of police. (Ord. No. 4941, 4-19-1993; Bill No. 7103, 12-6-2004)
    ec. 78-167. Brandishing or exposing weapons; threatening or causing breach of peace; penalty. It shall be unlawful for any person armed with a pistol, gun or other dangerous or deadly weapon, whether licensed to carry the weapon or not, to carry, expose, brandish or use such weapon in a way or manner to cause or threaten a breach of peace. Any person violating this section shall, upon conviction, be subject to the penalties set forth in section 1-8. (Code 1975, § 18-68) State law references: Similar provisions, W. Va. Code § 61-7-11.

    I do not know when WV passed it's preemption statute.


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    http://www.municode.com/Resources/ga...402&sid=48

    After looking at this, Beckley appears to have the same firearms laws as the state, which means open carry is legal (section 10-47 of Beckley). I'm pretty sure is has been ruled somewhere, I don't remember where I saw it, that simply carrying a handgun in a holster cannot be construed to mean brandishing since you are not purposly showing it to cause or threaten a breech of peace. Charleston on the other hand does not say 'concealed deadly weapon' just 'deadly weapon'. To me that means no OC. I think I saw another thread on here about this issue. Anyone know anything else about Charleston?

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    Which sections belong to which cities?

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    Mike wrote:
    Which sections belong to which cities?
    Beckley is first, then Charleston. It says Charleston Ordinances where they start. It took me awhile to see that too.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator Gray Peterson's Avatar
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    Mike wrote:
    Which sections belong to which cities?
    Mike I changed a few things and bolded the cities. Given the language of the statute, open carry is illegal in Charleston, and if it was done before preemption passed, then WV should go back to anomalous carry status and lose gold star.

    If this is the case, then what needs to be done is either A) Get Charleston to repeal it's ordinance, or confirm it to "concealed carry" and state law or B) Get the Legislature to follow the lead of Nevada and Virginia and introduce legislation to repeal the "Grandfathered" ordinances.

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    Yup - can somebody find the WV preemption statute for start of grandfathering and figure out when the Charlston OC ban went into effect?

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    Mike, here is what I've been able to find.

    From the WV State Code:

    8-12-5 "General powers of every municipality and the governing body thereof."

    Subsection 16: To arrest, convict and punish any individual for carrying about his or her person any revolver or other pistol, dirk, bowie knife, razor, slingshot, billy, metallic or other false knuckles or any other dangerous or other deadly weapon of like kind or character;

    8-12-5a"Limitations upon municipalities' power to restrict the purchase, possession, transfer, ownership, carrying, transport, sale and storage of certain weapons and ammunition."


    The provisions of section five of this article notwithstanding, neither a municipality nor the governing body of any municipality may limit the right of any person to purchase, possess, transfer, own, carry, transport, sell or store any revolver, pistol, rifle or shotgun or any ammunition or ammunition components to be used therewith nor to so regulate the keeping of gunpowder so as to directly or indirectly prohibit the ownership of the ammunition. Nothing herein shall in any way impair the authority of any municipality, or the governing body thereof, to enact any ordinance or resolution respecting the power to arrest, convict and punish any individual under the provisions of subdivision (16), section five of this article or from enforcing any such ordinance or resolution: Provided, That any municipal ordinance in place as of the effective date of this section shall be excepted from the provisions of this section: Provided, however, That no provision in this section may be construed to limit the authority of a municipality to restrict the commercial use of real estate in designated areas through planning or zoning ordinances.


    8-12-5a certainly makes it clear that a city can't limit a person's right to carry. However, I haven't been able to find out when 8-12-5a was passed.

    Now here is something very interesting that I found. Its a bit off topic but I foundit almost shocking, as I always thought WV was a very gun friendly state.Not from the state code but from this website: http://www.saf.org/LawReviews/Halbrook2.htm

    "The Handgun Control Act enacted in 1993 by Charleston, West Virginia, is a direct registration system. Under that ordinance, "no person or dealer shall sell any handgun to any other person without first obtaining ... a registration form" containing information about the purchaser. [14] The purchaser must certify that the handgun is "not for resale within a thirty-day period" and that "the purchaser has not purchased any other handgun within the thirty-day period" before the date on the registration form. [15] A copy of the form is filed with the police. [16]"

    I haven't found any hard evidence, but it looks like preemption wasn't passed until 1993 or sometime thereafter. If I find more I'll report back.

    http://www.legis.state.wv.us/WVCODE/...frm3Banner.cfm






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    Agent6-3/8 wrote:
    I haven't found any hard evidence, but it looks like preemption wasn't passed until 1993 or sometime thereafter. If I find more I'll report back.
    I did a search on the WV legislature page, which lets you search bills, incidentally, back to 1993 only and I can't seem to find the preemption law when it was in the bill stage. My guess is it was probably pre-1993. I'm still searching too though.

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