The Virginia Gun Owners Coalition and Virginia Citizens Defense League are mighty pissed at Republican Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli. Seems the AG was against the George Mason University gun ban before he was for it (check 5:30 in). Cuccinelli’s letter explains why he must now uphold laws that he found repugnant—instead of recusing himself (after publicly stating that George Mason University didn’t have a case against a concealed carry charge) or advising his client to settle. Something to do with a misstatement, apparently.
My office recently filed a brief in DiGiacinto v. The Rector and Visitors of George Mason University, a case that has been ongoing since November 2008. My friends at the Virginia Citizens Defense League and other Second Amendment supporters have taken issue with that brief and – based on the language used in it – have challenged my longstanding commitment to the right to keep and bear arms.
The Office of the Attorney General files briefs like this on a regular basis, defending our clients (agencies, colleges, and universities of the commonwealth) in litigation in both state and federal courts. As a matter of process, I don’t wordsmith each and every brief filed by my staff, nor did I in this case. However, I have reviewed the brief and the legal arguments contained therein, and acknowledge that the OAG is zealously representing our client, George Mason University. So long as a Virginia law is validly enacted and not apparently repugnant to the Constitution, I have a duty to defend it.
If the 2005 pre-emption law that I had strongly supported as a state senator had been applicable to state government entities (as I incorrectly recalled in 2008) and not merely to local government entities, then there would be no DiGiacinto case. I understand how my misstatement about the pre-emption law created expectations inconsistent with any regulation of firearms whatsoever other than by the General Assembly.
I, and the Office of the Attorney General, defend the rule of law. In this case, we are defending a validly enacted regulation, and we must do so zealously with every legal argument available to us. While I may not always agree with a particular policy position, I will defend Virginia laws and regulations as well as the constitutions of Virginia and the United States. To do otherwise would validate my opponent’s accusations during the campaign that I would bend the law to suit my personal views. I have not. I have issued legal opinions that are contrary to my policy views because they are based on the law as it is and not the law as I might like it to be. Laws, and not politics, dictate legal outcomes.
As much as I might wish to discuss the present case and its policy implications for future legislation in some level of detail, I cannot at this time because the lawsuit is still ongoing. However, at the conclusion of the case, I look forward to the opportunity to address its policy implications and those of the anticipated ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court in the McDonald case with the VCDL and other Second Amendment supporters.