Packing Heat at the Va. Capitol

Gun owners push to loosen laws

It was easy to spot one group lobbying in Richmond today -- they were the folks with loaded handguns at their sides.

Every year the Virginia Citizens Defense League holds its pistol-packing lobby day to push for gun law reforms.

With Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell freshly sworn in, gun rights advocates see this session as their best chance in years to push for less regulation. Sporting fluorescent stickers that declared "Guns Save Lives," they said it's high time to repeal the law that bans concealed weapons in restaurants that serve alcohol.

They also want lawmakers to lift the ban on buying one handgun a month. And they'd like to be able to apply for a concealed weapons permit by mail, without the messy requirement of fingerprinting.

Typically, bills pushed by the gun rights activists win approval in the Republican-dominated House but end up being spiked in the Democratic-controlled Senate. It remains to be seen whether having the first GOP governor in eight years will help the cause of gun owners in the 2010 session.

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