With today’s tense attitudes toward gun laws in America, it is all the more important to be aware of each state’s legal details on the matter. Controversy over who, exactly, can possess firearms is recently the focal point of attention in the media and in daily life. Sometimes, gun owners may forget that they are carrying their firearm in a restricted setting. If that gun owner happens to have a history of misdemeanor charges, the results may be highly consequential. West Virginia law maintains that no individual with a past misdemeanor charge may possess a gun, yet there are other important factors of this law.
A misdemeanor is the least of one’s worries when they have charges prior to possession of a firearm. The Williamson Daily News reports on one such incident, in which a 25-year-old West Virginia male was arrested for possessing a firearm after being convicted of the misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. The Daily News goes on to share that the man, Bryan Keith Lewis, admitted to breaking into the home of a Logan County resident while armed with a .380 caliber pistol. Lewis then admitted to attacking the resident, where an altercation ensued. Because of his 2014 conviction of domestic violence, Lewis faces 9 years in federal prison for the incident.
Lewis is only one of thousands of Americans who face severe penalties for possessing firearms. Although the West Virginian likely had the intent of attacking another individual after the break-in, not all cases are black and white, as the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence states. As for past charges, the LCPGV clarifies that West Virginia currently does not establish a procedure for the removal of firearms from domestic abusers at the time of their gun prohibition. However, those holding records with federal or state domestic violence, those subject to a domestic violence protective order or those facing a temporary “personal safety order” may experience hefty penalties if caught in possession of a firearm.