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The law will shield the electronic records, which should include all current permits while making them available to the clerk’s office, members of law enforcement and other government officials entitled to access.

“The idea is to have the clerks go back at least 5 years and from there forward forever,” Philip Van Cleave, president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said in an email. “Thus only old applications that are no longer valid would be available. VCDL is going to push for that to go back at least 10 years, instead of 5 or 6.”