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Gun Owners' Rights Take Center Stage in Richmond

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Gun control supporters and opponents held opposing rallies at the state capitol Monday.

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Hundreds of gun owners rallied in Richmond with their guns at their sides, wearing their eye-catching "Guns Save Lives" stickers and armed with a list of bills designed to relax gun restrictions. Gun owners have been going to Lobby Day for years, but with Republican’s controlling the House, Senate and governor’s office, there’s optimism that there bills will pass this session.

Gun owners outlined their priorities at a rally. Chief among them: They want the right to drop the requirement to get a permit in order to carry a concealed weapon.

“It does not expand who can carry a gun or anything like that,” said Fredericksburg Delegate Mark Cole, who sponsors the bill. “It just says that if you can legally own and carry a gun, you can do it either openly or concealed, with or without a permit.”

Activists will also push for the repeal of the law that limits them to one handgun purchase per month.

Prince William County Delegate Bob Marshall wants college faculty who have gun permits to be able to carry a concealed weapon on campus and into the classroom.

“If you can trust a professor to teach your children, and many Virginians do here in Virginia, why not trust them to protect their lives should that circumstance come up?” he said.

Gun control proponents held their own rally, led by Virginia Tech shooting survivor Colin Goddard and his father, who hope to block any attempt to allow guns on campus.

“It does disturb me,” he said. “I just don’t think guns belong in the classroom setting.”

Like-minded lawmakers said they will also fight the effort to lift permit rules for concealed weapons.

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