A big change when it comes to guns in West Virginia, but it’s causing issues for surrounding states, too. The Mountain State is now 8th in the nation to allow anyone over 21 to carry a concealed gun without a permit. But are surrounding states prepared for the big change? 7NEWS talked to law enforcement on both sides of the Ohio River.
“Am I pleased that everybody I’m going to approach may be carrying a weapon? Absolutely not,” says Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson. “If they cross the river into Ohio, if they drive over to PA, over to Robinson, or they go over to the Washington Mall, or something, and they’re carrying without a permit, they’re in violation of the law. And will probably get arrested for it if anyone sees the weapon. It’s that simple.”
Law enforcement officers on the Ohio side say they are looking into how this is going to effect the way they do business as well.
“Since this has all come about, as of today, I’ve called our local people in Columbus, and we’re checking with the Attorney Generals office to see which way we need to go on this,” says Harrison County Sheriff Joe Myers.
Both sheriffs Jackson and Myers say CCW permit applications are way up in their counties, as is also the national trend. Both says they are also all for law-abiding citizens carrying concealed, as long as they have the proper safety training.
“I don’t want to see someone from West Virginia for years, and now, once they don’t have to have one, but they make that mistake of crossing the boarder, and they don’t have a CCW license, they’re going to get jammed up,” Myers adds.
Jammed up with a felony charge of improper transport, which if convicted, gives that person a lifetime weapons disability. Another issue young West Virginians may have crossing state lines: provisional permits are not accepted by surrounding states either.
“The provisional permits that 18 to 20 year olds get, are not good in Ohio and Pennsylvania,” Jackson said. “There is no reciprocal agreement for those permits. Those are only good in West Virginia.”
In March Governor Tomblin vetoed the bill over safety concerns from law enforcement officials, but the legislator overturned the veto with a vote.
Sheriff Jackson adds, that out of courtesy and for the safety of officers, that if you are carrying a weapon, and have an encounter with police, please let them know you have a weapon on you.