RICHMOND, Va. — Legislation keeping the names of concealed handgun permit holders secret is headed to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s desk after winning final legislative approval Thursday.
Sen. Mark Obenshain’s bill originally just shielded the names of permit applicants protected by a protective order. The House of Delegates last week expanded the bill to cover all permit holders. Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, welcomed the change and urged the Senate to accept it.
Without debate, the Senate voted 31-9 to approve the amendment.
Supporters of the bill have said it protects the privacy of law-abiding gun owners. They criticized two newspapers, one in Virginia in 2007 and another in New York in December, for disclosing the identities of local handgun permit holders. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently signed legislation allowing that state’s handgun permit holders to remain confidential. Obenshain says that left Virginia as one of 12 states that make such information public record.
Open-government groups opposed the expanded bill, saying it would impede the public’s ability to monitor government regulation of a constitutionally protected activity.
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