No Limit on Number of Guns Owned Under Federal, W.Va. Laws

By: Olivia Fecteau Email
By: Olivia Fecteau Email

CABELL COUNTY, W.Va. (WSAZ) – took a closer look at state and federal gun laws after investigators found dozens of guns inside the home of Rodney Bruce Black, 62, who is accused of shooting and killing two people in Cabell County over the weekend.

“Neither federal law nor state law limits the number of firearms that an individual can possess, and there are many reasons that people would possess different types,” Cabell County Sheriff Tom McComas said. “Different hunting that they would do, whether they're hunting small game, large game, water fowl, other fowl. […] Then you have the shooting sports a lot of people participate in skeet shooting, competitive handgun shooting.”

That means under federal laws and West Virginia laws, there are no restrictions on a person owning five guns or 50 guns.

“He used one gun,” McComas said. “Yes, he owned numerous guns, but he only used one gun.”

Inside Black’s home, investigators found the .243 scoped rifle Black said he used to shoot and kill Garrick Hopkins and Carl Hopkins, Jr.

They also found several types of shotguns and pistols, as well as a Colt AR-15 assault rifle. asked McComas if his department would investigate whether Black bought the guns through federally licensed dealers or through private sale from an individual. McComas said that it may come up later in the investigation and distinguished between the two types of sales.

“Any time a person purchases a gun from a federally licensed federal firearms dealer, a check is conducted by the ATF,” McComas said. “It's something they refer to as a NICS check – National Instant Checking System.”

Under federal law, gun stores and licensed dealers are required to run the name and identifying information of anyone trying to buy a gun. That’s not the case if the sale is from one person to another person. In that situation, no background check is required in the state of West Virginia.

To read more on the murder investigation, click on the links to the right of the story.

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