CHARLESTON – Americans who choose to lawfully exercise their right to keep and bear arms should be at liberty to do so.
Those who wrote the Constitution knew the importance of protecting core values, defending their life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. This was of such significance that the founders ensured the right to bear arms was enshrined into the Bill of Rights.
West Virginians and many who visit our state also cherish the right to carry a concealed handgun. Our office not only respects this personal freedom, we have been and remain committed to expanding the reach of the state’s concealed carry licenses.
We share this respect for the Second Amendment with a growing list of more than 35 states that recognize our traditional concealed handgun licenses.
Since 2013, approximately two dozen states have either recognized West Virginia’s concealed carry license for the first time or enhanced their agreement.
This represents real success and accomplishment – the product of our determined effort to protect the Second Amendment rights of West Virginia gun owners.
That same perseverance drives our office to maintain the broad recognition that West Virginia license holders enjoy, while constantly looking for new avenues with other states.
Our office’s tenacity underscores the benefit of having a concealed carry license, even though West Virginia’s constitutional carry law allows residents and visitors alike, ages 21 and older, to carry concealed without a permit.
Younger West Virginians, ages 18 to 20, may lawfully carry a concealed handgun by obtaining a provisional concealed handgun license. Those permits are recognized by 20 states.
Freedom and responsibility go hand in hand.
Traditional and provisional license holders are required to undergo basic firearm safety training. Such permits are granted only to applicants who are U.S. citizens with a clean criminal record and no addiction to drugs or alcohol.
Those wishing to obtain a concealed handgun license can do so by contacting their local sheriff’s office.
Those traveling with a concealed weapon should contact any state they will enter. It is the license holder's responsibility to know and understand each state's recognition status, its applicable laws and any local restrictions.
Mountaineers are always free and the Second Amendment is paramount.
We honor and protect this precious liberty as a matter of utmost importance because responsible gun ownership is a right, whether a person is from West Virginia or possesses a concealed handgun license from another state.
Self-defense, constitutional rights and personal freedoms will always be respected in West Virginia. A population that is free is best equipped to reach its full potential.
Morrisey is the Attorney General of West Virginia.