West Virginia Constitutional Carry
A Brief Summary of West Virginia’s New Law Regarding ‘Constitutional’ Concealed Carry
W.Va. House Bill 4145 became effective on May 24, 2016 and is commonly called West Virginia Constitutional Carry. What does this mean for you and me? Well, simply stated, if you are 21 years of age or older and are not what is known as a “prohibited person” then you may carry a concealed deadly weapon in the State of West Virginia without a permit.
Lets’ break this down to understand who can carry and where a gun can be carried. First, without listing every way to become a prohibited person, the basic list is anyone convicted of a felony, anyone convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence, someone deemed mentally incompetent, an unlawful user or drugs or alcohol, etc. (The full list is located within Chapter 61 of the West Virginia Code.) Next, your deadly weapon maybe carried on your person everywhere except where prohibited by law. Examples of these prohibited areas are places such as: Courthouses, Schools, Post Offices, etc. (Again, the full list is contained within Chapter 61 of the West Virginia Code.)
So, let us restate this new law and its biggest effect. If you are a U.S. Citizen, without any legal prohibitions and over the age of 21 years, you may carry a concealed deadly weapon in the State of West Virginia without a permit or any type of license.
Another big change made by the Constitutional Carry Law allows individuals between the ages of 18 and 20 years to apply for a concealed weapon permit to carry a pistol or revolver. This is called a provisional license under the code and costs $40.00.
You might be asking yourself, does this new law affect reciprocity agreements with other States for concealed carry? The answer is not really. Let me explain, first, if you have a valid existing W.Va. Concealed Weapon Permit, you may continue to carry (in accordance with the reciprocity agreement) like you always have carried in the past. If you do not currently have a valid Permit, then you still must obtain a valid West Virginia Concealed Weapon Permit to enjoy the advantages of the reciprocity agreements with the other States. In other words, the Constitutional Carry Law stops at the West Virginia border. Reciprocity details can be found on the Attorney General’s website. Also, a great resource for information about carrying in West Virginia is the website for the West Virginia Citizens Defense League.
John Treadway, Jr.
Attorney, United Self Defense Law Firm, PLLC