Concealed Carry Holder Reacts To Virginia Assembly's Bill

Lynchburg, VA - The Virginia General Assembly is taking up legislation to keep information from concealed gun permits off limits to the public.

The state Senate version of the bill only applied to permit holders who've also obtained protective orders. Now, the House of Delegate has passed an even stronger version that would protect the information of all concealed carry permit holders.

Jerry Runion, an Army veteran, has held a concealed handgun permit for about 4 years.

"It's my right as an American," Runion said, referring to his second amendment right.

Runion says no one should have the right to the information on his permit application.

"That's really my biggest concern is somebody knowing where I live," Runion said. "I think it is very important that information is protected."

The information could soon be protected by another amendment currently being considered by Virginia's General Assembly. Virginia is one of only 12 states where anyone who wants information from concealed carry applications can get it.

Mathew Staver, a legal expert with Liberty Counsel, cites cases where permit holders have been harassed, and have even had to move after their information was made public.

"We have to have responsibility with the information that's available," Staver said. "Open records are good. They serve a good purpose. They keep government accountable, people aware. But there are some exceptions."

When it comes carrying his handgun, Runion has only one exception.

"I have it with me all the time. The only exception is at work," Runion said.

Runion is also concerned that access to the list could make even those without concealed carry permits targets. He wonders if a criminal would skip his house if they knew he had a gun and move on to his neighbor's house.

The state senator who proposed the original bill supports the amendment reached in the House.