Thread: OC in GW National Forest
Is it legal to OC in the GWNF in West Virginia for a non resident like me (Virginia resident)? Any conditions or pitfalls? Thanks in advance.
Last edited by Jonesy; 05-27-2011 at 06:18 PM.
If this is George Washington National Forest, I haven't found anything that prohibits it.
"Fireworks and Firearms
Do not set off fireworks or other explosives within campgrounds and other recreation sites.
Firing a gun is not allowed: a) in or within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site, or occupied area; b) across or on a road or body of water; c) in any circumstance whereby any person may be injured or property damaged. "
As for general WV laws pertaining to guns. I am not sure and would be better if someone who lives there were to answer that.
Last edited by xxx.jakk.xxx; 05-31-2011 at 04:30 AM.
"though I walk through the valley in the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for I know that you are by my side" Psalms 23:4
"Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power." Benjamin Franklin
“It’s always open season on criminals in Mason County, and there’s no bag limit.” Sen. Tim Sheldon (D)
According to the scuttlebutt I've heard, the law is just vague and leads to a gray area where 1) concealed carry with a permit is okay 2) open carry is ostensibly okay, but depending on the temperament of a DNR officer you encounter you could be charged with poaching.
There is somewhat of a legal minefield in the Natural Resources Law (WV Code Chapter 20) in which there are numerous firearm-related restrictions in §20-2-5 but a concealed carry with a license exception in §20-2-6a. Otherwise, West Virginia's location-specific restrictions on where a person can carry do not depend on whether a person has a CHL.
WVCDL has proposed on several occasions legislation to sweep this legal minefield fo ropen carriers--most recrently the West Virginia Gun Owner Protection Act of 2011, HB 3125 and SB 543. While we will continue seeking similar legislation in the future, we are also exploring the potential non-legislative options for protecting OCers. However, there will be no quick solutions to this long-festering problem.
Seems kinda strange that some National Forests have much in the way of firearms restrictions, since many of them have shooting ranges.
And no oc'ing in "any of the woods."
How do you determine what constitutes the "woods"???
Last edited by Jonesy; 06-04-2011 at 06:01 PM.
W.Va. Code § 20-2-5 are relics from a time when West Virginia law required a license to carry a handgun, either openly or concealed, and under which licenses were issued more sparingly than in Maryland. At that time, the only way most individuals could carry a handgun off their own property was when hunting. These provisions were adopted both as anti-poaching measures and as additional means of enforcing the old licensing law.
After the old licensing law was declared unconstitutional in State ex rel. City of Princeton v. Buckner, 180 W.Va. 457, 377 S.E.2d 139 (1988), the Legislature revised the firearm-related provisions of the criminal statutes but has largely neglected the hunting laws (except to add W.Va. Code § 20-2-6a, which provides limited protection for licensed individuals carrying a concealed handgun). The result has been a legal minefield for gun owners. For an example of the confusion that exists over these statutes, see the conflicting advice concerning open carry in a vehicle of the State Police (open carry in a vehicle is legal) and the Division of Natural Resources (loaded firearms in vehicles illegal except concealed handguns carried with concealed handgun license) and the Supreme Court of Appeals's decision in State ex rel. West Virginia Div. of Nat. Resources v. Cline, 200 W.Va. 101, 488 S.E.2d 376 (1997) (click here for majority slip opinion; click here for Justice Maynard's dissenting slip opinion).
WVCDL has, on several occasions, proposed legislation to sweep this legislative minefield (most recently, the West Virginia Gun Owner Protection Act of 2011), but, so far, the Legislature has not considered this issue sufficiently important to take action.
I know that this thread hasn't been added to in over a year but....
Jonesy (or anyone else who has been to GWNF recently) how was your experience? Did you have any problems while you were there or get to speak with any Park Ranger for clarity on the issue of OC in GWNF?
I have OCed on several occasion in WV in general without problems but going to a National Forest, either OC or CC, for me is new territory.
Any input is appreciated.