CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- State officials have added New Mexico to the list of states where licensed West Virginians can legally carry a concealed pistol.
A reciprocity agreement between New Mexico and West Virginia goes into effect Dec. 1, said Will Valentino, assistant state attorney general.
West Virginia now has concealed weapons reciprocity agreements with 22 states, meaning those states recognize a valid West Virginia concealed weapons permit, and West Virginia recognizes concealed weapons permits from those states. Another seven states automatically recognize a valid West Virginia permit or appear to recognize a state permit.
At least 38 states, including West Virginia, have laws requiring local officials to issue concealed weapons permits to applicants who legally qualify to carry a concealed weapon. Another nine states issue hidden weapons permits at the discretion of local officials, although a few of those states rarely if ever issue permits.
West Virginia lawmakers asked the state attorney general's office to start working out handgun reciprocity deals with other states in 2007. But Valentino said the deal with New Mexico may be the last reciprocity agreement state officials sign for a while. He said West Virginia can only enter into agreements with states whose concealed weapons requirements are similar to ours.
"Some states, it's never going to happen," Valentino said, but deals with other states may mean a lot of delicate negotiations over language.
"It's always something little," he said.
Valentino said state officials have been unable to work out a deal with officials in Texas, for example, because Texas requires more extensive background checks on concealed weapons applicants than West Virginia does. State officials haven't been able to work out a deal with Georgia because Georgia does not require handgun training to get a concealed weapons permit.
"Our statute specifically requires training in handguns," Valentino said.
West Virginia currently has reciprocity agreements with Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia and Wyoming.
Indiana, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada and Vermont automatically recognize West Virginia permits, and Idaho and Kansas appear to.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.