As of Tuesday, it’s legal to carry a concealed gun in West Virginia without a permit. Art Thomm co-wrote the bill and has received death threats because of his involvement.
“Go out, have fun, learn how to protect yourself, but that’s what it should be,” Thomm said. “You should have fun out learning to better handle your firearm to protect yourself, but the government should not mandate how and when you do it.”
The bill was passed earlier this year, but it doesn’t throw all caution to the wind. Those who are 18 to 21 will still need a permit.
“It’s just a simple matter of if you put your shirt over top of of your firearm, you are now concealing it,” Cole McCulloch, President of Peacemaker National. “Before you would need a permit to do it. Now you won’t need to do it.”
Even though it’s legal to carry without a permit, experts still recommend getting your concealed carry license to get the benefits of training that comes with carrying a firearm.
“Just because you have a firearm doesn’t mean you don’t have to be responsible,” McCulloch said. “You need to be responsible with or without a permit, so we always advice to go get that permit.”
And you’ll need a conceal carry license if you plan to carry in states that have a reciprocity agreement with West Virginia.
“For over 100 years, people have been able to do that in the state of West Virginia just openly,” Thomm said. “To think that something is going to change because you’re wearing a coat is completely ridiculous to me.”
“It’s been shown many places that more usage of guns by law abiding, responsible, gun owning citizens is a much better approach than not having them,” said McCulloch.
Supporters believe the new law won’t lead to an increase in crime.