The state of West Virginia made some changes to its laws regarding weapons in 1989. An Amendment to the state’s Constitution was passed in November 1986 and impacted the state residents’ right to bear arms. The state of West Virginia does not allow anyone to carry a concealed deadly weapon.
What Does The West Virginia Code Say About Weapons (§ 61-7-3)?
There Are Penalties For Carrying Deadly Weapons (§ 61-7-3):
Concealed deadly weapons cannot be carried, unless a person has a state license or has another lawful authorization. If a person breaks this rule, they will be charged with a misdemeanor. The minimum fine for this offense is $100 and the fine cannot exceed $1,000. The person carrying a concealed deadly weapon can also be imprisoned in a county jail for less than a year if this is their first offense. If this is their second conviction for this offense, they will be charged with a felony. They might also be imprisoned for at least a year but the imprisonment cannot exceed five years. The fine for the second offense will be between $1,000 and $5,000.
There are definitions for different types of knives in the West Virginia Weapons Code:
This is how these weapons are defined (§ 61-7-2):
– A gravity knife refers to any knife with a blade that comes out of the handle. The blade can be released by the force of gravity or by centrifugal force. The blade is maintained by a catching device such as a lever, spring or a button.
– A knife is an item that can be used as a weapon. A weapon is considered as a knife if there is a sharp blade. The point or the edge can be sharp. The blade is usually made with steel and can be used to inflict wounds. A weapon is considered as a knife if it can be used to stab, tear or cut. Stilletos, poniards, dirks and daggers are considered as knives. Any weapon with a blade that is longer than three and a half inches is considered as a knife. The definition covers gravity knives and switchblades. Pocket knives, hunting knives, and fishing knives are not included in this definition as long as the person carrying the knife is carrying it in the context of an outdoors sport. Tools and household items are not considered as knives unless the person carrying the item intends on using it as a weapon.
– A switchblade knife is defined as a knife that includes a blade that can be operated with a spring. These knives have blades that open automatically when a button or another releasing device located in the handle is activated.
The West Virginia Code also looks at gravity knives, switchblade knives, and knives as “deadly weapons” (§ 61-7-2 (9)).
There is no statewide preemption regarding knives.
The state also forbids individuals from carrying knives in a concealed manner:
Deadly weapons cannot be carried in a concealed manner. This applies to knives, switchblades, gravity knives, stilettos, daggers, dirks and any weapon with a blade that is longer than three and a half inches. Individuals are permitted to carry certain types of knives in a concealed manner. This applies to household knives, hunting knives, fishing knives and tools. Pocket knives with a blade that is shorter than three and a half inches can be carried in a concealed manner.
The law was changed on March 4th, 2016 and the changes will go into effects three months after being approved. This means that individuals must comply with these changes starting on June 3rd, 2016.
The amendments affect who can carry concealed deadly weapons without obtaining a license for it (West Virginia Code §61-7-7):
– A person can carry a concealed deadly weapon without getting a license for it if they are 21 years or older.
– Individuals need to be United States citizens or have a legal resident status.
– If someone is prohibited from having a firearm, they cannot conceal carry another type of deadly weapon under the provisions of West Virginia Code §61-7-7 and under the provisions of 18 U. S. C. §922(g) or (n).
The term “deadly weapon” has a broad definition in the West Virginia Constitution. The term applies to daggers, stilettos, poniards, dirks and generally to any knife with a blade longer than three and a half inches. This includes switchblade knives and gravity knives. Any weapon that can be used to cut, tear or stab is considered as “deadly weapons”.
This is what the West Virginia law says about minors:
Minors cannot possess deadly weapons, unless they are emancipated or married. It is forbidden to sell deadly weapons to minors under § 61-7-10.
This is what the West Virginia law says about schools:
Knives are prohibited on school property. This applies to any type of knives, even the ones that wouldn’t be considered as deadly weapons such as pocket knives and knives with a blade under three inches and a half.
There are additional rules about knives:
A lot of cities have their own municipal ordinances regarding knives.
There is more to the three and a half inches rule:
See § 61-7-2 (3) for more details. The three and a half inch rule applies to poniards, stilettos, dirks, and daggers.
This is only a brief summary of what the laws are in the state of West Virginia. It is best to look at the full legal text to get a better understanding of what the rules are. This is meant as an informational article and should not be regarded as legal advice.
This information that is presented as a brief description of the laws and not as any kind of legal advice. aStraightArrow will not and cannot be a legal service provider. The use of the site does not create any sort of client/lawyer relationship. The knife laws are interpreted differently by prosecuting attorneys, enforcement officers, and judges. aStraightArrow suggests you consult legal counsel for further guidance.