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Permit no longer needed to carry a gun in West Virginia

Guns can now be carried without a permit in West Virginia. (WTOV)

Residents in West Virginia can now carry a gun, hidden or in plain sight, because of a new law that went into effect Tuesday.

Under the new act, a permit is no longer needed. News 9's Crissy Clutter spoke with law enforcement in Wheeling about the new rules.

Wheeling Police Chief Shawn Schwertfeger says he thinks their call volume will reflect the law; most likely, they'll be answering more gun calls. He wants the public to know there are still restrictions.

"Folks that don't have experience or haven't taken a safety class and they're now carrying because they can.....add alcohol or drugs that's a nice recipe for disaster or tragedy so that's what concerns me," Chief Schwertfeger said.

Under the new law, a permit is no longer necessary to pack a concealed firearm as long as you're over the age of 21. The chief says he wants to make it clear there are still prohibitions on carrying weapons into public places.

"For example, the federal building or any federally owned building, city/county courthouses. Schools, school bus, school function. You can't carry a firearm onto Wheeling Island Stadium during a football game," Chief Schwertfeger said.

The chief says he thinks that most law enforcement officers were against the changes in the law that won approval earlier this year, because it puts police at a greater risk.

Schwertfeger says he doesn't think owning a gun is necessarily a bad thing, but it shouldn't be taken lightly.

"The biggest thing I tell people is look in the mirror and ask themselves 'do you possess the mindset to take care of the weapon safely and number two if you needed it to protect you or your family could you use it and not have it taken from you'?," Schwertfeger said.

Schwertfeger recommends if you want to carry a gun that you take a class to know how to handle it.

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