The best protection against being a victim is knowledge. Taking precautions by always being aware of your environment and are observant of potentially dangerous situations can keep you from becoming a victim. Having an everyday carry weapon as a self-defense tool will put your mind at ease if the need to use it arises.
Legal Self-Defense Weapons in West Virginia
- Stun Guns
- Pepper Spray
- Tactical Pens
West Virginia: Stun Guns
Having a stun gun in West Virginia is legal as long as you are not a minor, do not have any felony record and only use it for self-defense. You don’t need any permit to purchase a stun gun and to possess it. However, the misuse of a stun device in the commission of a crime or assault can result in criminal liability. The stun gun is not considered a deadly weapon. As per West Virginia code, “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. (§61-7-2)
Is pepper spray legal in West Virginia?
Pepper spray is legal in West Virginia and can be used by anyone 16 years old above provided that you haven’t been convicted. You should only use it for self-defense purposes. West Virginia Law defines pepper spray as “a temporarily disabling aerosol that is composed partly of capsicum oleoresin and causes irritation and blinding of the eyes and inflammation of the nose, throat, and skin” §61-7-2
Using a non-lethal product such as pepper spray is a great way to defend yourself from danger without necessarily having to make a decision that could have enduring results if the situation does not require it.
Knife Legality in West Virginia
As defined in the West Virginia Code “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.”
There are no knives illegal to own or possess in West Virginia so long as it is not more than three and a half inches as described on the West Virginia Code under the deadly weapon section (§61-7-2)
Below are some of the knives defined on the West Virginia Code:
- “Blackjack” 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.
- “Gravity knife” 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 using a button, spring, lever or other locking or catching device.
- “Switchblade knife” any knife having a spring-operated blade which opens automatically upon pressure being applied to a button, catch or another releasing device in its handle.
- “Nunchuk” a flailing instrument consisting of two or more rigid parts, connected by a chain, cable, rope or other nonrigid, 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.
- “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.
You can check the West Virginia Code website for the full list.
Tactical Pens are Legal in West Virginia
A tactical pen, much like a tactical knife or an EDC Pen, is an often-overlooked piece of everyday carry gear that could very well save your life one day, or at the very least provide you with the means to jot down your ideas or notes. Tactical pens typically feature heavy-duty machined metal construction, are outfitted with pressurized ink cartridges, and fit easily in your pocket, shirt, or on your belt with your other tactical gear.
There are no specific laws for tactical pens, but about the laws in West Virginia– as long as you are not a convicted felon, then you can own a tactical pen.
Firearm Laws in West Virginia
With the number of gun laws continuously that are being suggested and changed at the federal and state levels, it can get confusing trying to keep track of the ones that affect you and your gun rights.
West Virginia does have a limited number of anti-gun laws, however, the process for purchasing a firearm in West Virginia is relatively simple and follows the federal requirements,; meaning no purchase permit is required. In order for you to buy a handgun, you must be 21 years old or above must provide a state ID and have been background checked by a licensed firearm dealer.
License to Carry (§61-7-2)
All persons applying for a license must complete a training course in handling and firing a handgun, which includes the actual live firing of ammunition by the applicant. Provided, That the completed course includes the actual live firing of ammunition by the applicant:
(1) Any official National Rifle Association handgun safety or training course;
(2) Any handgun safety or training course or class available to the general public offered by an official law-enforcement organization, community college, junior college, college or private or public institution or organization or handgun training school utilizing instructors certified by the institution;
(3) Any handgun training or safety course or class conducted by a handgun instructor certified as such by the state or by the National Rifle Association;
(4) Any handgun training or safety course or class conducted by any branch of the United States military, reserve or National Guard or proof of other handgun qualification received while serving in any branch of the United States military, reserve or National Guard.