Reciprocity is a wonderful thing for concealed carry permit holders. That one permit allows one to carry concealed in numerous other states without needing a special permit for each one. Today, folks in Wisconsin and West Virginia can each add another state to the areas their permits cover.
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey announced the agreement on Friday, marking it as an historical, positive step for gun owners in both states.
“I take protecting the Second Amendment rights of legal gun owners seriously,” Morrisey said. “Residents of West Virginia and those who visit here should be able to exercise their right to bear arms.”
Concealed carry holders from West Virginia have long been able to carry concealed firearms in Wisconsin, and a recent letter from Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker will now allow West Virginia to recognize concealed carry permits from Wisconsin, giving visitors from the Badger State the same opportunity to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
This is good news for those affected, though I’m not sure how many West Virginians are interested in traveling to Wisconsin or vice versa, but still…
Unfortunately, this also illustrates a problem with concealed carry permits.
West Virginia boasts total reciprocity with 34 states. Three others recognize West Virginia permits without a reciprocal agreement.
Just as a question, how many states does West Virginia have driver’s license reciprocity with? What’s that? All of them?
That’s the problem. Driving isn’t explicitly recognized by the Constitution as a civil liberty, yet driver’s licenses enjoy recognition in every state. The only hassle you’ll get is if someone isn’t sure it’s a real license, and that’s just a lack of familiarity.
Drivers from every state can drive in every other state without a concern. Like concealed carry, drivers are subject to the laws of the state they’re in, not the state they’re from, and we have little problem in that regard. The system works well.
Yet concealed carry permits require special finagling between states. Laws have to be passed, letters from governors need to be written, something. All so people from one state can carry a pistol in another state.
Meanwhile, when Congress has dealt with the idea of national reciprocity, some in the firearms community express fear. After all, they argue, do we really want the federal government to have a say in concealed carry?
I get the argument, I really do. I’ve even shared it in the past.
But can’t we all at least agree that this current system of states needing to explicitly accept permits from particular states is a bit of a nightmare?
None of that should take away from the good news for Wisconsin and West Virginia residents. Until the system is revamped, we have to work with what’s here, and these two states have made it just a bit easier on their residents.
Despite rantings on national reciprocity and the pain in the neck of the status quo, make no mistake. I count this as a win for the good guys.