CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State officials have added Kansas to the list of states where West Virginians with a valid concealed weapons permit can legally carry a hidden gun.West Virginia now has full reciprocity with 23 other states on concealed weapons permits, meaning valid permit holders from West Virginia can carry hidden handguns in those states, and valid permit holders from those states can legally carry here.State officials began pursuing reciprocity agreements with other states in 2007. West Virginians with a concealed weapons permit can now legally carry in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisianna, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.Will Valentino, assistant state attorney general in charge of negotiating reciprocity agreements, said the state now also has written agreements from seven other states that formally recognize West Virginia concealed weapons permits. Those states are Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada and Vermont.
Thirty-nine states have laws requiring local officials to grant concealed weapons permits to residents who qualify. Several other states grant concealed weapons permits at the discretion of local officials.Valentino said reciprocity agreements between West Virginia and other states "serve the law-abiding gun owners of both states."
But he said it isn't possible to work out reciprocity agreements with all states because some states don't allow their citizens to carry concealed weapons at all, and other states have concealed carry laws that differ too much from West Virginia's laws. State officials have been unable to work out a reciprocity agreement with Georgia because officials in that state can't check the validity of a concealed weapons permit 24 hours a day, seven days a week as required under West Virginia law.But Valentino said he may still be able negotiate an agreement with Texas, where local officials have been trying to figure out if West Virginia and Texas concealed weapons laws are compatible."I'm still trying to work something out with them," he said.At least 60,000 West Virginians have concealed weapons permits, according to State Police records. West Virginians with legally held concealed weapons must abide by the gun laws of the state they are visiting if they choose to carry concealed in that state.Reach Rusty Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org