On Tuesday, January 19, state Delegate Saira Blair introduced House Bill 4145, legislation that would allow a law-abiding individual, who is 21 years of age or older, to lawfully carry a concealed handgun for self-defense without needing to first obtain a government-issued permit. HB 4145 also addresses a current deficiency in state law that prohibits an individual who is between the ages of 18 and 21 from obtaining a concealed weapon permit. HB 4145 has been referred to the House Judiciary Committee.
Under the provisions of House Bill 4145, an individual who is over the age of 21, a citizen or legal resident of the United States and who is not otherwise prohibited from possessing a firearm, may lawfully exercise their fundamental right to self-defense by carrying a concealed handgun, without having to first undergo the time-consuming permitting process. HB 4145 also creates a new "provisional" permit that will be available for individuals between the ages of 18 and 21. This provisional permit recognizes that all trained, law-abiding adults should have the ability to protect themselves when confronted with imminent harm.
The provisional concealed weapon permit will be available at a reduced price for individuals who are over the age of 18. It will expire when the licensee turns 21. Otherwise, the requirements for obtaining the provisional permit will mirror West Virginia's current permitting process, including a training requirement.
The new provisional permit is a separate permit that will be readily distinguishable from West Virginia's regular concealed weapon permit. It will not affect reciprocity with states that currently recognize West Virginia's regular concealed weapon permit.
Similar legislation, Senate Bill 314, was introduced today in the West Virginia Senate by state Senator Dave Sypolt. SB 314 has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee. Both bills are awaiting a scheduled hearing date in their respective committees. Please contact members of the House Judiciary and Senate Judiciary committees as well as your state Delegate and state Senator, and express your support for expanding concealed weapon rights in West Virginia. Also, please continue to check NRAILA.org for updates on the progression of this important legislation.