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Bill could give non-hunters freedom to carry legal guns in woods

Updated: Thursday, February 27 2014, 05:51 PM EST

HANCOCK COUNTY, W.Va  – A bill passed by the West Virginia Legislature could potentially give non-hunters freedom to carry a legal gun in the woods without being required to present a hunting license to authorities.

The bill was passed unanimously in the West Virginia House of Delegates last week, and will now be voted on in the State Senate before it can become a law.

What this bill actually means is that if a person wishes to take a walk in the woods and carry their gun for protection, they won’t need to obtain a hunting license to justify it.

House bill 4431 would clarify and contrast between hunters and shooters in the field, allowing them to be protected from intervention by authorities simply for the possession of a gun.

“You could actually walk down the sidewalk with a sidearm on your side and you’re legal,” explained W.Va. Delegate Randy Swartzmiller. “But then if you make a left turn and go into the woods, you need a hunting license.”

Swartzmiller said a resident complained about being asked for his hunting license because he was out in the woods with a gun. What this bill hopes to do is eliminate the gray area in the current law.

“You can carry your gun in the woods,” he said. “As long as you’ve got a concealed weapons permit, you can carry that gun. The problem is when you start to carry it on the outside, some people were getting asked for their hunting license.”

In turn, the new bill will require an officer to have secondary evidence before a hunting license is presented.

“It could be additional hunting equipment like different calls that hunters may use,” Swartzmiller said. “It could actually be visible evidence such as hair or blood from field dressing an animal.”


Bill could give non-hunters freedom to carry legal guns in woods

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