CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced an expansion in concealed handgun recognition for 18- to 21-year-olds, while also announcing his office maintained every existing concealed carry agreement between West Virginia and 35 other states.
This week’s announcement follows passage and implementation of House Bill 4145, which allows qualified individuals, age 21 and older, to carry concealed handguns without a permit and for the first time offers a provisional license beginning at age 18.
Sixteen states, all of which recognize West Virginia’s traditional licenses, provided written assurance they will also recognize the state’s provisional licenses. That means 18- to 21-year-old license holders now enjoy the freedom to carry their concealed handgun into 16 states as they travel.
“Protecting the Second Amendment rights of West Virginians continues to be a priority,” Attorney General Morrisey said. “Our office worked very hard not only to maintain the existing agreements, but also to expand that freedom for younger West Virginians who lawfully wish to exercise their constitutional rights.”
States agreeing to recognize both West Virginia’s traditional and provisional licenses are Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah and Wyoming.
Additionally, 19 other states confirmed they will continue to recognize West Virginia’s traditional concealed carry licenses. Those states are Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware,Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin.
Keith Morgan, president of the West Virginia Citizens Defense League, said his group was optimistic that the new provisional licenses would be recognized in three to six states, initially believing any expansion beyond that would take years.
“The relentless tenacity with which Attorney General Patrick Morrisey’s office attacked this issue, resulting in recognition from 16 states, is quite frankly, astonishing,” Morgan said in acknowledging the effort required to secure recognition. “The number of hours of work required cannot be over stated. That we have official recognition from this many states in just five months, is more than a testament to the commitment of the Attorney General’s office to defending and recovering the recognition of our inherent human right to self-defense.”
Additionally, many West Virginians may carry concealed without a license in Maine and Vermont.
Every person traveling with a concealed weapon should contact any state they will enter to confirm recognition status and any local restrictions. It is the responsibility of all West Virginia concealed firearm license holders to know and understand the applicable firearm laws of the states within which they plan to visit.
Those wishing to obtain a concealed handgun license can do so by contacting their local sheriff’s office.
For information regarding West Virginia concealed handgun licenses, please visit the Attorney General’s Gun Reciprocity page at www.wvago.gov.