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Senate votes to close concealed handgun permit info

With no debate, the state Senate today approved a bill that removes from public view all concealed handgun permit information.

It will now go to Gov. Bob McDonnell’s desk.

The bill, from Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, originally only closed permit information for people who are under protective orders.

But an amendment made in the House closes permit information for all permit-holders.

Such bills have been proposed in the past — including one from Del. Mark Cole, R-Spotsylvania, last year — but have failed to pass a Senate committee.

Because this was a House amendment to an already-approved Senate bill, it went straight to the full Senate, which approved it 31-9.

Opponents of the bill said most permits one receives in a courthouse are public documents — marriage licenses, deed changes, divorce decrees, concealed handgun permits — and that the gun permits shouldn’t be treated differently.

Supporters have said that concealed handgun permits are different, because they relate to an individual, constitutional right.

The General Assembly closed to public view a state police database of permit-holders several years ago.

The issue has been revived this year in part because of outcry after a New York newspaper published a list of local gun permit-holders there.