OHIO VALLEY — With the passage of West Virginia’s permitless concealed carry House Bill 4145 and despite the reciprocity of Ohio and West Virginia concealed carry licensing, Ohio still expects West Virginians traveling over the border to have a permit of some kind to be able to carry a concealed weapon in the state.
According to Gallia County Assistant Prosecutor Eric Mulford, West Virginia’s new law allows concealed carry of weapons without a permit, often referred to as “constitutional carry.” Although the new law has yet to be put to the test, as it went into effect May 24, anyone carrying a concealed firearm in Ohio without a properly issued permit to carry a concealed gun would be potentially violating Ohio Revised Code section 2923.12. The code does make mention that states with concealed carry permits are recognized in Ohio, but one must still carry a permit within the state.
“Our philosophy on charging people hasn’t changed,” said Mulford. “These laws are designed to protect the general public from those who intend to do harm, and not punish otherwise law-abiding, typical citizens. Most defendants who we prosecute for carrying weapons have accompanying drug trafficking or other charges.”
Ohio Attorney General’s Office spokesman Dan Tierney agrees with Mulford’s position. Ohio still recognizes an individual’s ability to be allowed to carry a concealed weapon, but that person must go through the proper legal channels to acquire a permit or licensing, if coming from another state into Ohio.
West Virginia is considered the eighth state to allow lawful gun owners 21 and older to carry concealed weapons without a permit. Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Kansas, Maine, Vermont, and Wyoming are the others, while Idaho has a similar law going into effect July 1.
West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin had originally vetoed the bill to allow permitless concealed carry, considering the issue potentially dangerous to peace officers in the line of duty. The West Virginia Legislature overrode the veto by a majority in both the state House of Delegates, 64-33 and state Senate, 21- 11.
There may still be restrictions on where one can carry a firearm in West Virginia, though, such as government buildings, convention centers, administrative offices and the like. One would potentially still be able to open carry on city property or at a festival or fair event where streets or sidewalks are blocked.
Local law enforcement suggests Ohio Valley citizens become acquainted with their local carry laws, many of which can be found online. For more information, contact your local sheriff’s office.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.