Virginia concealed hangun permit secrecy passes Senate

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Legislation keeping the names of concealed handgun permit holders secret is headed to Gov. Bob McDonnell's desk.

Sen. Mark Obenshain's bill originally just shielded the names of permit applicants protected by a protective order. The House of Delegates expanded the bill to cover all permit holders. Obenshain, a Republican from Harrisonburg, welcomed the change.

Without debate Thursday, the Senate voted 31-9 to accept the House amendment.

Supporters of the bill have said it protects the privacy of law-abiding gun owners. They criticized two newspapers, one in Virginia and another in New York, for disclosing the identities of local handgun permit holders.

Open-government groups opposed the expanded bill, saying it would impede the public's ability to monitor government regulation of a constitutionally protected activity.