Saturday, November 19, 2011

VA-ALERT: Wrap up and video of Cuccinelli at VCDL meeting

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Last Thursday VCDL had two major events: the VT protest AND Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli addressed the monthly VCDL meeting in Annandale.
The Annandale meeting was packed (thank you, guys and gals!) Basically, Cuccinelli said that GMU's gun ban was not productive and protected no one. Indeed similar wording was in his opinion when it was released.

Cuccinelli's original statement three years ago that GMU couldn't do such a ban was based on him mistakenly thinking that GMU fell under preemption. The problem is that preemption covers localities and NOT universities.
A MAJOR ITEM: Cuccinelli said that VCDL should work to get state-agency preemption, which would include universities, passed into law. He said we don't need a patchwork of gun laws at the state agency level any more than we do at the local government level (AMEN!) His public statement on that matter certainly won't hurt us as we move forward to do just that.
I would like to thank the Attorney General for being a stand-up-guy and speaking to VCDL at a public forum to clarify the GMU issue. We certainly appreciate his support for state-agency preemption!
We have the full video of the meeting below and also press coverage. The video is very educational, including explaining the exact job that the Attorney General performs for the Commonwealth, and a discussion of a gun in a "secured" container in a vehicle (Dan Hawes is the attorney discussing one of his cases on secured containers in the video).

I want to personally thank EM Ian Branson for getting the video of this important meeting:

As you heard in the above video, Cuccinelli didn't actually call GMU leadership crazy, but the press prefers to make the headline more dramatic, so sometimes the facts get set aside to sell papers or to create a political "gotcha."
From the Annandale Patch:
'They're Crazy,' Cuccinelli Says of GMU Officials
Virginia's Attorney General told gun rights advocates he considers the school's gun ban bad policy that doesn't promote safety.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League (VCDL) was certain Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli had sold them out.
"His opinion on the GMU ban went against us," said VCDL Vice President Jim Snyder in his introduction of Cuccinelli at Thursday night's membership meeting in the Mason Governmental Center.
Cuccinelli soon allayed the group's fears: "As Attorney General I cannot undercut my client by going out and saying something like, 'You're idiots for doing this.' But the case is over, and I can now say I think they're crazy."
In January 2011, the Virginia Supreme Court upheld George Mason University's prohibition against guns in campus buildings and at sports and entertainment events.
The Attorney General's office had written a legal opinion supporting GMU.
"While a court opinion is a ruling, a legal opinion from the Attorney General's office is our best estimate of what the Virginia Supreme Court would say if they got it right," he said.
Tuesday night Cuccinelli said of George Mason University's gun ban decision, "The policy they've undertaken doesn't achieve their goals for campus safety."
"The role of the Attorney General is unique in that all governing agencies, the governor, and legislators are my clients," said Cuccinelli. "Because my first obligation is to the law, I end up with some opinions I might not like."
"It's very important for us to maintain the credibility of the office, and for us to be legally right," said Cuccinelli. "At times, that can be a very awkward position."
"Obviously in the GMU matter I was not in a place I wanted to be. I don't like their policy, it's not good policy," he said.
When Cuccinelli had met with the VCDL three years ago, he'd told the group the General Assembly oversaw all gun control decisions. "I made a legal mistake when I spoke to you three years ago," Cuccinelli said. "I thought any agency in Virginia went through the General Assembly for gun laws," he said. In fact, that only applies to local governments, not to state agencies.
Cuccinelli berated Virginia's public universities for lobbying themselves through the General Assembly on an abbreviated legislative process. "Gee, it's so inconvenient to participate in a democracy, especially for those in the ivory towers," he said.
"They have their own special regulatory process, totally abbreviated," he said. "They shouldn't be treated any differently than any other state agency."
Of the Republican's taking control of Virginia's Senate after the Nov. 8 General Election, Cuccinelli said it wouldn't make that much of a difference for gun laws in the state. "We haven't traded much up or down on individual Senate gun votes," he said. "It's not a conservative Senate, it's a Republican Senate, and no one knows that difference as well as I do."
Cuccinelli said the real struggle for gun rights is in committees. "There are going to be conservative committee chairs," he said. "Tommy Norment is not 100 percent on board with our issues, but he has done pretty well as the Republican's minority leader."
"I don't expect Tommy to do what Dick [Saslaw] was doing—to make up rules to kill bills; because that's what Dick was doing," said Cuccinelli.
"Even before the 20 - 20 tie [between Republicans and Democrats in the Virginia Senate] you had what amounts to a friendly Senate where bills do pretty well," he said. "It's the committees and subcommittees where things were being killed. "
"Your issues are not party line issues," he told the VCDL members. "You'll always be working with Republican and Democrat voters."
Cuccinelli said he wishes Virginia's General Assembly would bring gun laws back under their governance, and not allow agencies to decide for themselves. He said this should be one of VCDL's goals for the next legislative session. "Let's get rid of the patchwork and see the General Assembly take over all Second Amendment issues," he said.
He said the Castle Doctrine should also be a goal. "The Castle Doctrine says that once someone forces their way into your home, you may use all the force necessary at the time to protect yourself," he said. The burden of proof shifts in favor of the person defending themselves.
"I think we'll get the Castle Doctrine this year. That's not a guarantee, but I do think we should be okay," he said.
"Second Amendment issues are good issues for people who want to get elected," he said. "There's been a revival with that in the last several years, and I've been glad to be a part of that."
From the Huffington-Post:

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