Legislation keeping secret the names of people obtaining concealed weapons permits has won overwhelming approval from the state Senate.
The bill, which also makes a number of technical changes in the law, was approved on a 30-4 vote and sent to the House on Wednesday.
Democratic Sen. Bruce Sweeney of Lewiston defended the confidentiality for permit holders on grounds that if the information was public criminals would be able to find out areas where people had concealed weapons and then avoid them.
Some critics of the bill suggested that was an even better reason for making the names public rather than keeping them secret.
But Sweeney argued that disclosure was an unnecessary invasion into the lives of people just trying to protect themselves.
“There are certainly arguments both ways,” he said.
“But we have to remember these are law-abiding citizens. People who buy permits and have permits don’t shoot people.”