Concealed handgun licenses expanded for West Virginia gun owners - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

Concealed handgun licenses expanded for West Virginia gun owners

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Under agreements recently entered into by West Virginia with Iowa and New Hampshire, concealed handgun license rights for legal gun owners has been expanded.

On Oct. 30, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey formally announced the entered-into reciprocity/mutual recognition agreements. Under a full reciprocity/mutual agreement, other states recognize West Virginia concealed carry permits, and West Virginia recognizes similar permits issued in those states.

Pursuant to W.Va. Code 61-7-6a and under the new agreements, a valid Iowa or New Hampshire permit or license to possess or carry a handgun is valid in West Virginia for the carrying of a concealed handgun as long as the permit or license holder is twenty-one or older, the permit or license is in his or her immediate possession or the permit or license holder if not a resident of the state of West Virginia.

Similarly, West Virginia residents with a valid concealed handgun license may legally carry a concealed handgun in states with full reciprocity agreements as well as states that formally recognize West Virginia permits.

West Virginia has full handgun reciprocity agreements with 29 states: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.

In the following seven states, subject to the limitations of each state's laws, West Virginians with a valid concealed handgun license may also legally carry: Alabama, Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, Vermont and Wisconsin. Vermont law does not restrict who may carry a firearm, and Wisconsin only recognizes West Virginia concealed handgun licenses issued after June 8, 2012. Until further agreements are reached, any concealed handgun license issued by these seven states may not be honored by the state of West Virginia.

Since this summer, Idaho, Colorado, Georgia, Iowa and New Hampshire have been added to the list of states with which West Virginia has full reciprocity or mutual recognition agreements. The state of Alabama agreed to recognize valid West Virginia concealed carry permits, but West Virginia does not yet recognize permits issued in Alabama.

"These new agreements are great news for legal gun owners in West Virginia who wish to practice their Second Amendment rights when they travel to and through other states," Morrisey said in a press release. "These agreements are the culmination of many weeks of discussion and negotiation with other states, and we look forward to securing even more agreements with other states in the months to come."