CHARLESTON – Protecting Second Amendment rights is something near and dear to the heart of West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.
Last month, Morrisey and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed an agreement that means every concealed gun permit issued in West Virginia also will be considered valid in Wisconsin as well. Wisconsin residents now may also carry in West Virginia.
“Since January 2013, my office has secured more than two dozen agreements promoting the Second Amendment rights between West Virginians and those residing in other states,’’ Morrisey told The West Virginia Record. "That includes our work expanding concealed handgun recognition for 18- to 20-year-olds, while maintaining every existing agreement.
"We also successfully maintain reciprocity with Virginia in December 2015, when Virginia notified 25 other states of its intention to drop reciprocity."
Morrisey said West Virginia has reciprocity agreements with 37 states. He was recently quoted in a press release on the agreement with Wisconsin that he takes "protecting the Second Amendment rights of legal gun owners seriously."
"As always, our office is open to increasing the number of states that West Virginians can visit and freely exercise their right to bear arms as well as the number of out-of-state residents who can visit West Virginia and enjoy the same freedom," Morrisey said.
Morrisey said his office is always exploring options to increase the number of states it has reciprocity agreements with.
"We are required by law to annually reach out to all states to see if they plan to continue to honor current reciprocity agreements. In doing so, we also focus in on states that we don’t have current agreements with in hopes of fostering future expansion," Morrisey said.
“West Virginia currently has full handgun reciprocity agreements, mutual recognition or the right to carry concealed without a permit in a total of 37 states.’’
West Virginia has reciprocity agreements with Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming, according to a press release. License holders can carry concealed in Montana and carry without a license in Maine and Vermont.
According to a press release, West Virginians are allowed to carry concealed handguns without a license within the state but they are required to get authorization for out-of-state travel.
"West Virginia residents with a valid concealed carry license may legally carry a concealed handgun in states with full reciprocity agreements, as well as those states whose laws do not require a formal agreement and automatically recognize valid out-of-state concealed handgun licenses," the press release said.