Privacy Bill Wins Approval
Legislation Heads To Gov. For Final Nod
Posted: February 15, 2013
HARRISONBURG — Legislation keeping the names of concealed handgun permit holders private is on its way to Gov. Bob McDonnell for his signature after winning final legislative approval Thursday.
Sen. Mark Obenshain’s bill originally just shielded the names of permit applicants with 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. The Senate rejected the broader proposals in previous years at the committee level, but the House accepted them.
“I went in prepared [Thursday] for a lengthy and provocative debate,” Obenshain said. “I was looking forward to it.”
Instead, without debate, the Senate voted 31-9 to approve the amendment.
“It’s a combination of common sense, the right to privacy and also the collective experiences from the past several years,” Obenshain said.
Those moments include two newspapers, The Roanoke Times in 2007 and another in New York in December, disclosing the identities of local handgun permit holders.
Supporters of the bill have said it protects the privacy of law-abiding gun owners.
“I think that there is a broad bipartisan recognition among mainstream citizens that what [the papers] did was flat wrong,” Obenshain said.
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.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report
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