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Thread: Misinformation on WV AG Pamphlet

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    http://www.wvago.gov/pdf/brochures/2009_gunbrochure.pdf

    The above pamphlet, put out by the WV Attorney General's office, states on the bottom of page 4:
    While West Virginia is an “Open Carry” state, only residents of West Virginia may do so.
    WVCDL is checking with the AG's office for the section of WV code that prohibits OC by non-residents. I'm betting thatthereisn't one, and hopefully the pamphlet will be corrected quickly.
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    There is zero legal authority to support that statement. And if there was such a law, it would be unconstitutional as a violation of the Privileges & Immunities Clause of Article IV, § 2 of the U.S. Constitutionand the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment.
    James M. "Jim" Mullins, Jr., Esq.
    Admitted to practice in West Virginia and Florida.

    Founder, Past President, Treasurer, and General Counsel, West Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
    Life Member, NRA

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    i was going to say i am a pa person and i can carry in WV. WV state honors my permit. hell i was in the marmet labor day parade. not watching it i was in it. im a fire fighter and had my private car in the line up . after the parade i walked all over and talked to local police. my dad was running for mayor there. so i know most of the leos there. and i was open carrying. now i have heard that you can not open carry in Charleston in that area its concealed only

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    I live on ohio/west virginia border and work in wheeling wv and i carry all the time and never had an issue yet. But i always make sure my voice recorder is on at all times.

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    "It is important to note that while West Virginia is an “open carry” state the ability to carry openly is deemed by law enforcement to apply only to West Virginia residents. West Virginia law enforcement’s interpretation of “open carry” is that the handgun must be visible from three sides."

    Page 1 of this link: http://www.wvago.gov/pdf/BookletWVFirearmLaws.pdf


    WTF is this??? Only WV residents can OC in WV because of WV Law enforcement "interpretation"???

    What responsibilities does the WV Attorney General have besides confusing gun owners?
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitableand let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come . PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

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    OK i am contacting WV attorney general and finding out whats going on. in pa i have a permit called LTCF which means license to carry firearms, no where does it mention concealed permit.; and if WV is an open carry state why single out the out of stater that have a reciprocating agreement with WV. i always open carry my pistol its my way of educating the public, and people should not be afraid of the people that are openly carrying a gun, its the guns the people are hiding that you need to be concerned with

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    Regular Member Maryland Shall Issue's Avatar
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    I know WVCDL is checking it out. I brought the apparently incorrect language to Jim's attention over the weekend out of doing some research on WV laws.

    My suggestion would be to let them handle it and be the lead contact on the matter. No need to have a dozen people all asking the same question.

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    It's a bit of a strange situation with the WV Attorney General's office and the West Virginia State Police. I've been in contact with the AG's office, and am working on the WVSP.

    Here's a quote from our forum:

    I have spoken with the Attorney General's office. The AG's office states that they've been placed in a precarious position by the West Virginia State Police. The AG's office had no response regarding whether or not there is any statutory prevention of open carry by non-residents. However, what they have stated is that the State Police both interprets, and enforces the law in that manner. As such, the AG's office made a judgment call on best intentions. They stated that since the WV State Police interpret the law that way, they did not want to issue a nation-wide green-light to open carry in West Virginia, only to have some poor guy acting on their information arrested by a state trooper who didn't get the memo.

    And I can kind of see why this, while not necessarily technically correct, may be a wise thing to do. Because of our sporting code spaghetti, anyone who is open-carrying in the woods or in in a vehicle (without a permit) could be charged in violation of hunting law. An out-of-state resident could easily come to the conclusion that "open carry means open carry" and drive around our state open-carrying. Or alternately, go hiking around the woods open carrying. And they would almost certainly find themselves arrested for the practice.

    So now my charge is to see if I can find out what statute the WVSP is interpreting to prohibit open carry to non-residents, as the AG's office was completely unaware of any actual cases which support the WVSP's position.

    So perhaps we need to solicit information from our friends over at PAFOA. If any of them have actually been arrested by the West Virginia State Police or other LE organizations for open carry in WV, we need that information. We need to know what statute was cited in the arrest, because I'll be damned if I can find any prohibition or restriction based on state of residency within our state code.

    Feel free to copy/paste this over on the PAFOA forums.

    -- Keith

    Edit: I have a call in to Colonel Pack's (WVSP Superintendent) office regarding this issue. I'll update as more information becomes available.
    If anyone has been stopped by, arrested by, or otherwise hassled by WV LEOs for OC as a non-resident, we'd be very interested in talking to you. You can reach me via email at kmorgan at wvcdl dot org.

    -- VP, WVCDL

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    Regular Member Maryland Shall Issue's Avatar
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    Thanks siglite for the information. I'll put the word out to the MD crew.

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    bcr229 wrote:
    http://www.wvago.gov/pdf/brochures/2009_gunbrochure.pdf

    The above pamphlet, put out by the WV Attorney General's office, states on the bottom of page 4:
    While West Virginia is an “Open Carry” state, only residents of West Virginia may do so.
    WVCDL is checking with the AG's office for the section of WV code that prohibits OC by non-residents. I'm betting thatthereisn't one, and hopefully the pamphlet will be corrected quickly.
    Hubby and I have been through WV OC many times. we were unaware of this interpretation of the law. I sure hope that gets fixed soon - otherwise i may have been a bad girl!

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    I spent a week in WV this past summer and OCed the entire time without incident. Since WV doesn't honor my GA license I had no choice but to OC. I did a fair amount of research before going, and the way I read it was OC is legal in WV (with a few local exceptions). As stated in a few other posts, if it's legal for a WV resident to OC without a permit, then it's legal for anyone to OC without a permit.

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    Founder's Club Member - Moderator ed's Avatar
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    Harper1227 wrote:
    i may have been a bad girl!
    lol.. like you need ANY reason? also lol at "may have"
    Carry On.

    Ed

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    Founder's Club Member Hawkflyer's Avatar
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    Any new information on this yet?

    Regards
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    The AG's official position has changed to "It is important to note that while West Virginia is an 'open carry' state the ability to carry openly is deemed by law enforcement to apply only to West Virginia residents. West Virginia law enforcement’s interpretation of 'open carry' is that the handgun must be visible from three sides." (last paragraph of page 4 of this PDF file).

    I have spoken with the AG's office at length about this issue. It is my impression they've been boxed into a corner by their client (the State Police), as their side of these conversations was lacking in confidence and devoid of legal authority to support their position. I let them know that if any LEO ever acts on the very mistaken belief that only WV residents could OC and I catch wind of it,that LEO'semployer will pay off my student loans andmake a down payment ona house for me at Glade Springs (my local gated community).

    Separately, there is no case law in WV on the meaning of concealment, which only became part of WV law in 1989. Our courts would likely look to VA and other states that have similarly-worded statutes on concealment to discern what is and is not concealment for the purposes of the prohibition on carrying concealed weapons without a license.
    James M. "Jim" Mullins, Jr., Esq.
    Admitted to practice in West Virginia and Florida.

    Founder, Past President, Treasurer, and General Counsel, West Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
    Life Member, NRA

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    Thanks for checking on this. Looks like a word of caution is in order for out of state residents so that they can make an informed decision on whether to open carry or not.

    Then again, some people in MD would like to be able to sue some over reaching agency in WV and then use the settlement to retire there

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    Regular Member Dreamer's Avatar
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    So if I get harassed by a LEO while OCing because he believes my firearm is not "visible from three sides", but I possess a valid CHP, then I am right in assuming that he doesn't have any legal ground to stand on, because either it's OC and visible (which does NOT require a permit in WV) or it's concealed, for which I have a permit.

    They can't have it both ways, right?
    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggressionand this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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    State Researcher lockman's Avatar
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    If a permit is not required to OC what difference would residency make? What other activities are perfectly legal for WV residents without permit or license that will land non-residents in jail?

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    Has there been any further info on OC in WV? I have a VA CHP and was wondering if and when I carry in WV:

    1. Can I OC in WV?

    2. If I'm CCing and a LEO sees my gun, what should or could I expect?

    Just saying thatthe supposedly WV's law(?) states that ONLY WV residents can OC, what kind of responses should I expect from LEOs when trying to do the correct method and how they enforce it and being a VA CHP holder, how big a deal they would make about it as to whether I'd wind up in the backseat of a police unit or if they would be polite enough to discuss the situation to the point of making legal/proper.

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    9MM Owner wrote:
    Has there been any further info on OC in WV? I have a VA CHP and was wondering if and when I carry in WV:

    1. Can I OC in WV?
    Yes.

    9MM Owner wrote:
    2. If I'm CCing and a LEO sees my gun, what should or could I expect?
    I assume you are talking about a situation in which you are CC'ing and do something that results in your gun being revealed. At most, I would expect a request to see your permit.

    9MM Owner wrote:
    Just saying thatthe supposedly WV's law(?) states that ONLY WV residents can OC, what kind of responses should I expect from LEOs when trying to do the correct method and how they enforce it and being a VA CHP holder, how big a deal they would make about it as to whether I'd wind up in the backseat of a police unit or if they would be polite enough to discuss the situation to the point of making legal/proper.
    There is no law in West Virginia discriminating against nonresidents for OC. You can search the West Virginia Code to your heart's content, but you will not find such a law, either in Chapter 61, Article 7, which is the primary area of weapons regulation, or anywhere else. I would encourage anyone who is harassed or unlawfully detained for OC to contact my law office.
    James M. "Jim" Mullins, Jr., Esq.
    Admitted to practice in West Virginia and Florida.

    Founder, Past President, Treasurer, and General Counsel, West Virginia Citizens Defense League, Inc.
    Life Member, NRA

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    Thanks for the clarification. I've just read sooo much different information that about different areas of OC/CC that I get confused at times. Especially living 10-15 minutes from WV. It's just that I work P/T at a friends store in Sterling and he lives in the Inwood/Martinsburg and I carry when working in the store. Some times I will take the store's deposits to his house and I don't want any troubles with anyone.

    It's sorta like the differences in WV and VA gun laws pertaining to how you can legally carry in a business that serves alcohol. In WV it's OC/CC (If I remember right) but it's OC ONLY in VA (unless a current bill allows CC also).

    P.D.

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    9MM Owner wrote:
    I work P/T at a friends store in Sterling and he lives in the Inwood/Martinsburg and I carry when working in the store. Some times I will take the store's deposits to his house and I don't want any troubles with anyone.
    Whoa. Not to hijack my own thread - that is one heck of a daily drive. I live in the same area as your friend and own a townhouse in Sterling (used to live in it, it's nowa rental) so I'm very familiar with the commute.
    EFI, LLC - 07/C2 in Inwood, WV
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    Actually, I recently stumbled across this FAQ on the official WV State Police website:

    http://www.wvstatepolice.com/legal/faq.html

    And I quote (emphasis added by me):
    Q. Is it lawful to carry weapons (e.g. rifles, shotguns, and pistols) in my vehicle when I travel in West Virginia?
    A. Individuals who possess a valid concealed carry permit may carry a concealed handgun in a motor vehicle for purpose of self defense only. West Virginia permits anyone who can lawfully possess a handgun to carry an unconcealed handgun. If you choose to carry an unconcealed handgun in your vehicle and are stopped by a law-enforcement officer, you must understand that that the weapon will immediately attract the attention of the police officer. The presence of the weapon may lead to action by the officer to ensure his or her safety such as the drawing of his or her weapon, ordering you from the vehicle, and/or performing a pat-down search. Weapons intended for hunting must be unloaded and in a case when transported in a vehicle. It is strongly recommended that, if you do not have a valid concealed carry permit, while traveling in a vehicle, that all firearms be unloaded and cased in a location in the vehicle that is not readily accessible to any of the occupants. Any ammunition should be stored in a separate location from the firearm.

    Maybe the WV-AG should actually get on the "InterWebs" and use the "Google Machine". It wasn't difficult to find. You'd think the WVSP would be REQUIRED to clear their website through the AG's office. Either the AG's staff is not doing their job, or SOMEBODY in Charleston isn't telling the truth with regards to the WV AG's firearms pamphlet...

    It is our cause to dispel the foggy thinking which avoids hard decisions in the delusion that a world of conflict will somehow mysteriously resolve itself into a world of harmony, if we just don't rock the boat or irritate the forces of aggressionand this is hogwash."
    --Barry Goldwater, 1964

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