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Concealed carry legislation to be considered by General Assembly

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Alan Diaz/AP
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AP
This Wednesday, June 29, 2016, photo shows guns on display at a gun store.

Getting a concealed carry permit should be free, and lawmakers should take action to eliminate the current fee, according to Delegate-elect Tim Anderson of Virginia Beach. Also, people who are caught carrying a gun without a concealed carry permit should be guilty of a civil penalty rather than a misdemeanor.

"The idea is to make it easier for people to get a concealed handgun permit," Anderson says. "Once you have it, you can have the gun anywhere you want. You can have it in your pants. You can have it in your car. But make it easier on people."

The proposal to eliminate the fee for a concealed carry permit strikes some people working against gun violence as counterproductive.

"I don't want my taxpayer dollars paying for his permit," says Lori Haas at the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence.

Haas also says more training should be required. "Think about what we require of a law-enforcement officer to carry a firearm in public. It's hundreds of hours of training. But we're saying that you are I can take a 45 minute in-person class where the guy looks at you and says, 'This is the gun, this is the trigger, this is the holster. Now you're equipped to go out and carry in public.' I think it makes zero sense."

Even if the new Republican majority in the House of Delegates passes those gun bills introduced by Tim Anderson, they'll still need to get through a Senate controlled by Democrats— including committees that are stacked to favor the Senate majority.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.