How to Sell a Gun in West Virginia

Understanding the laws governing the private sale of firearms is crucial to avoid inadvertently committing an illegal act. Selling a gun in Mountain State should be a stress-free process if you are aware of these rules. This article is designed to serve as a comprehensive guide on how to sell a gun in West Virginia, detailing state laws for private firearm sales, federal laws, and regulations, as well as concealed and open carry laws.

Written by:
Manny Perovic
June 14, 2023
minutes read
Map of West Virginia

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State Laws for Private Firearm Sales in West Virginia

Private sales of firearms in West Virginia are regulated by state laws. These laws are not as stringent as federal laws, but understanding them is critical to ensuring a smooth, legal transaction.

Picture representing West Virginia

Legal Requirements to Purchase Firearms in West Virginia

The rules governing the purchase of firearms in West Virginia are relatively straightforward, but it's important to note that federal laws still apply, so you should be aware of that

Age and Permit Requirements for Firearm Purchase

In West Virginia, the age requirement varies depending on the type of firearm being purchased:

  • Buyers must be at least 18 years old to purchase rifles, shotguns, and ammunition.
  • Buyers must be at least 21 years old to purchase handguns.

In addition, no permits or registration are required to own a firearm in West Virginia.

Purchasing from a Licensed Firearms Dealer

When purchasing from a licensed firearms dealer, buyers must complete a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms form 4473 (firearms transaction form). This form asks for the buyer's name, address, and other identifying information, and requires the buyer to answer a series of questions designed to verify eligibility to purchase a firearm.

ATF's website form 4473 - Firearms Transaction Record Revisions

Requirement of National Instant Criminal Background Check System Check

A crucial part of buying a firearm in West Virginia is undergoing a National Instant Criminal Background Check System check. This background check is done to ensure that the buyer does not have a criminal record or other prohibitions that would prevent them from owning a firearm.

FBI's website National Instant Criminal Background Check System check

Private Sale of Firearms in West Virginia

Private sales are transactions that occur between individuals, rather than through a licensed dealer. These types of sales are also regulated, albeit less strictly.

Private Sale Regulations in West Virginia

West Virginia allows the private sale of pistols, rifles, shotguns, and other firearms without the need for a background check or documentation, as long as both the buyer and seller are residents of the state. However, the seller should be confident that the buyer is legally allowed to possess a firearm. Knowingly selling a firearm to a person prohibited from owning one is illegal.

Cross-State Private Sales and Role of Federal Firearm License Holders

Selling a gun to someone in a different state can be more complicated. In these cases, the firearm usually needs to be shipped to a Federal Firearm License (FFL) holder in the buyer's state. This FFL holder will conduct the necessary background checks and transfer the firearm to the buyer.

Penalties for Illegal Private Sales

Penalties apply if a firearm is sold to an ineligible person if a defaced firearm is sold, or if a restricted firearm is sold. These penalties can range from fines to prison time, depending on the severity of the offense.

West Virginia Firearm Prohibitors

Certain individuals are prohibited from owning firearms in West Virginia due to state-level prohibitions.

State-Level Prohibitions on Firearm Possession

The following individuals are prohibited from possessing a firearm in West Virginia:

  • Individuals convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment exceeding one year.
  • Individuals who are habitually addicted to alcohol.
  • Individuals who are unlawful users of or habitually addicted to any controlled substance.
  • Individuals adjudicated to be mentally incompetent or involuntarily committed to a mental institution.
  • Individuals who are aliens illegally or unlawfully in the United States.
  • Individuals discharged from the armed forces under dishonorable conditions.
  • Individuals subject to a domestic violence protective order.
  • Individuals convicted of a misdemeanor offense of assault or battery where the victim was a current or former spouse, partner, cohabitant, or a member of the defendant’s household.
  • Procedure for Regaining Firearm Possession Rights

Individuals prohibited from possessing a firearm may petition the circuit court of the county in which they reside to regain this ability. The court must find by clear and convincing evidence that the person is competent and capable of exercising the responsibility concomitant with the possession of a firearm.


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Federal Laws and Regulations for Firearm Sales

In addition to state laws, federal laws also govern the sale of firearms.

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Federal Firearm Prohibitors

Federal laws also prohibit certain individuals from owning firearms.

Federal-Level Prohibitions on Firearm Ownership:

Federal firearm prohibitions include individuals with a conviction (felony or misdemeanor) where the crime has a maximum imprisonment term exceeding 1 year, individuals on felony pre-trial release, and those convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence or under restraining/stalking/protection orders. Also, those adjudicated for mental health, unlawfully using or addicted to a controlled substance (including marijuana), dishonorably discharged from the armed forces, those who have renounced U.S. citizenship, and illegal aliens are prohibited.

Restraining Orders and Mental Health Adjudications

Individuals under restraining orders or those who have been adjudicated for mental health are subject to federal firearm prohibitions.

Discharge from Armed Forces and Citizenship Status

Federal firearm prohibitions also apply to those dishonorably discharged from the armed forces and those who have renounced U.S. citizenship.

Open Carry and Concealed Carry Laws in West Virginia

The open carry and concealed carry laws in West Virginia are also essential for anyone looking to sell firearms in the state.

Open Carry Regulations

In West Virginia, the law allows for the open carry of firearms without a permit for individuals who are at least 18 years old.

Concealed Carry Regulations

For concealed carry, West Virginia operates under a "constitutional carry" law for anyone 21 years or older, meaning no permit is required. However, a concealed handgun license can still be obtained. This license provides reciprocity with other states, allowing West Virginia residents to carry concealed firearms in those states that recognize West Virginia's permit.

Limitations on Municipalities’ Power to Restrict Firearms in West Virginia

In West Virginia, municipalities are limited in their ability to restrict firearms. Neither a municipality nor the governing body of any municipality can limit the right of any person to purchase, possess, transfer, own, carry, transport, sell, or store any deadly weapon, firearm, pepper spray, or any ammunition or ammunition components.


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Firearm Type Restrictions in West Virginia

West Virginia does not have state-level restrictions on specific types of firearms. 

Photo of an antique gun, with cleaning and repair kit

Key Recommendations for a Safe and Profitable Gun Transaction

For easy and secure gun sales, it's crucial to confirm your firearm is in a prime functional state, tidy and well-kept. Offer a precise depiction of the gun, mentioning its manufacturer, model, caliber, and any accompanying accessories. Draft a detailed bill of sale and incorporate necessary paperwork like invoices and warranty data. Lastly, execute the sale and transfer ownership in a way that abides by all appropriate federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Maintenance and Storage:

Before putting your firearm up for sale, ensure that it's in excellent operational state and is spotlessly clean; this can enhance its overall worth.

Photo of a rifle in a case, with ammo

Detailed Description:

As you get your firearm ready for a private transaction, strive to provide a comprehensive and accurate description. This should include particulars about the manufacturer, model, caliber, and any accessories included. An all-inclusive description facilitates a hassle-free deal with your potential buyer.

Man with an iPad

Necessary Paperwork:

Draft a complete bill of sale that safeguards both parties in case of disagreements. It should contain data such as the date of sale, details of the buyer and seller, and specifics of the firearm (like make, model, and serial number). Additionally, incorporate any relevant documents, like invoices from the purchase and warranty details.

Photo of a person signing a document

Finalizing the Sale and Ownership Transfer of the Firearm:

Once you've found a lawful buyer, wrap up the sale and transfer the firearm's ownership in a manner that complies with the law. Stick to all relevant federal, state, and local laws and regulations, including background checks and any necessary permits or licenses.

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Choosing Cash for Arms as Your Firearm Selling Platform

Cash For Arms Homepage

Opting for Cash for Arms is a secure and trustworthy method for selling your firearm. By picking a reputable purchaser, you can ensure a smooth and legal sale of your

handgun, rifle, shotgun, gun collection, and NFA Class III Firearms while getting the finest market value for your firearm.

General Questions & Answers

How to sell a gun that you have inherited in West Virginia?

If you've inherited a gun in West Virginia and want to sell it, the first step is to understand local, state, and federal laws. West Virginia has relatively relaxed laws on private gun sales, but you must still verify the buyer's age and residency, and ensure they're legally allowed to own a firearm. For interstate transfers, you're required to go through a licensed firearms dealer, who'll conduct a background check.

Can you sell a gun in West Virginia?

Private sales of firearms, including handguns, are legal and do not require the seller to perform a background check; however, it is unlawful to sell a firearm to a prohibited person. 

Do you need a bill of sale to sell a gun in Virginia?

If you want to privately sell a gun in Virginia, the person buying the gun must first get a background check through an FFL dealer. Use a private bill of sale form so you have a record of the transaction.

Can I sell a gun to someone in Virginia?

Virginia generally prohibits any person from selling a firearm “for money, goods, services or anything else of value” unless the seller has received verification from a licensed dealer that the buyer has undergone a background check and been approved by the State Police.

What are the gun sales laws in West Virginia?

Private sales of firearms, including handguns, are legal and do not require the seller to perform a background check; however, it is unlawful to sell a firearm to a prohibited person.

Do guns have to be registered in West Virginia?

West Virginia has no law requiring gun owners or possessors to register their firearms.

Are guns cheaper in West Virginia?

If you are going to buy that $2,000 rifle, it's going to be $120 cheaper here in West Virginia compared to our neighboring states,” West Virginia state Delegate Gary Howell, a primary sponsor of the legislation, said during an interview with the local CBS affiliate.



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By choosing a reputable buyer like Cash for Arms, you can ensure a safe and secure sale of your firearm, protecting yourself from potential legal complications.

Selling a firearm in West Virginia involves many considerations, from age and permit requirements to understanding state and federal laws. However, armed with the right knowledge, you can ensure a smooth, legal transaction. Always remember to proceed with caution and responsibility to ensure that firearms don't end up in the wrong hands.


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