WVC 61 - 7 - 16
§61-7-16. Chief officer certification to transfer or make certain
firearms; definitions; appeal.
(a) When certification of a chief law-enforcement officer is
required by federal law or regulation for the making, transfer,
receipt or possession of a firearm, the chief law-enforcement
officer shall, within thirty days of receipt of such a request,
provide such certification upon determining that to his or her
knowledge the applicant is not prohibited by federal, state or
local law from making, transferring, receiving or possessing the
firearm for which application is being made and is not the subject
of a proceeding that could result in the applicant being prohibited
by law from receiving or possessing a firearm. If the chief law-
enforcement officer is unable to make a certification as
contemplated by this section, he or she shall provide the applicant
written notification of the action setting forth the reasons
(b) For purposes of this section:
(1) "Chief law-enforcement officer" means any official, or his
or her designee, that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and
Explosives, or any successor agency, identifies by regulation or
otherwise as eligible to provide the required law-enforcement
certification for the making, transfer, receipt or possession of a
(2) "Certification" means written confirmation by the chief
law-enforcement officer necessary under federal law that the applicant seeking to make, transfer, receive or possess a firearm
is not to the chief law-enforcement officer's knowledge prohibited
by federal, state or local law from making, transferring, receiving
or possessing the designated firearm.
(3) "Firearm" has the same meaning as provided in the National
Firearms Act, 26 U. S. C. §5845 (a).
(c) Chief law-enforcement officers and their designees who act
in good faith are immune from liability arising from any act or
omission related to certifying a responsible person.
(d) An applicant whose request for certification is denied may
appeal the chief law-enforcement officer's decision to the circuit
court of the applicant's county of residence. If the circuit court
finds that the applicant is not prohibited by law from making,
transferring, receiving or possessing a firearm and is not the
subject of a proceeding that could result in prohibition, the
circuit court shall order the chief law-enforcement officer to
issue the certification and may award costs and reasonable
attorney's fees to the applicant.
(e) A generalized objection to persons or entities making,
transferring, receiving or possessing firearms or particular types
of firearms which may be lawfully made, transferred, received or
possessed does not constitute a valid basis for refusing
(f) In making the certification decision the chief law-
enforcement officer shall require of the applicant only such information as is necessary to identify the applicant for purposes
of this section or to determine the disposition of an arrest or
proceeding relevant to the applicant's eligibility to lawfully
possess or receive a firearm.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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