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McDonnell Eyes D.C. Gun Law

Anita Kumar

When Robert F. McDonnell ran for Attorney General in 2005, it was his Democratic opponent, Sen. R. Creigh Deeds, who ended up getting the National Rifle Association endorsement. The NRA was upset that McDonnell voted in the House for the state's one-gun-a-month law, which Deeds opposed.

It almost cost McDonnell the election. He's been trying ever since to make amends with the nation's most influential gun rights organization.

In April, McDonnell provoked a fight with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg over the mayor's decision to send undercover agents into Virginia to look for illegal gun sales.

Now, McDonnell is wading into the District's efforts to protect their longstanding ban on the possession of concealed weapons and handguns.

McDonnell announced today that Virginia will join several other states by filing a brief supporting the right to bear arms in the D.C. gun case to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in March. The case has been touted as the most significant review of the Second Amendment in almost 70 years.

At issue is a decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, which ruled that the gun policies of Washington D.C. violated the Second Amendment. The court found that the right to bear arms is an individual right guaranteed by the framers.

"The right to bear arms secured in the Bill of Rights is a right 'of the people'," McDonnell said. "We believe that our founders declared, in the Second Amendment, that American citizens have the personal right to bear arms as individuals."

Heller v. District of Columbia will most likely be heard by the Supreme Court in March 2008, with a decision anticipated in June.

It's not clear whether McDonnell's efforts will bolster his image with NRA officials. Deeds has already announced his candidacy for governor. McDonnell also says he is likely to run.

Wonder who will get the NRA endorsement if they are both their party's respective nominees?

By Anita Kumar  |  December 18, 2007; 11:54 AM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Election 2009  
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AG McDonnell is going to have a tough race against Sen. Deeds for VA Gov - so far AG McDonnell has stood by and refused to repudiate a very wishy washy AG opinion issued by the interim AG between Kilgore and McDonnell that appears to give state colleges some room to ban campus gun carry, even by concealed handgun permit holders. That wishy washy opinion was requested by Sen. Deeds, and Deeds was not expecting his question to be answered in manner actually implying that colleges had inherent gun banning power.

AG McDonnell needs to do more than file an amicus brief to impress gun owners - McDonnell needs to crack the whip and tell state colleges that they have no power to ban gun carry on campus.

Mike Stollenwerk
OpenCarry dot org

Posted by: Mike Stollenwerk | December 18, 2007 2:42 PM | Report abuse

McDonnell hasn't announced yet? I guess it's 2013 for him. Too late.

Posted by: Anonymous | December 18, 2007 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Mike; if AG McDonnell truly believes that the 2nd Amendment protects a "right of the people," he then needs to take real actions in Virginia in order to make sure that right is not infringed.

A few weeks ago George Mason University got their gun ban into the Virginia Administrative Code, a ban that is probably illegal because it exceeds the scope of GMU's authorized power. If my understanding of the process is correct, this ban had to be approved by the AG's office before it was allowed into the VAC. Where was McDonnell?

Universities cannot protect their students from a madman set on killing hundreds. We saw this at Virginia Tech. Students and staff with concealed handgun permits should be allowed to defend themselves while on campus just as they can almost everywhere else in the Commonwealth (just remember Jeanne Assam and the New Life Church in CO).

While an amicus brief might score points with the NRA, McDonnell needs to start taking action where he has the authority to make real changes.

Andrew Dysart
President - GMU Students for Concealed Carry
Veteran - United States Marine Corps

Posted by: Andrew Dysart | December 18, 2007 6:51 PM | Report abuse

If the AG doesn't wake up and realize that the "gun free zone" concept is a failure, and he needs to stop denying the victims of shootings the means to protect themselves, he will not get my vote. As a law student in Virginia, his inaction to students' pleas already leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth for him. Gun owners in Virginia aren't stupid and we have long memories.

It's been proven over and over again that murderers with criminal intent are not going to be stopped by a "gun free zone" sign, and we've seen the consequences of closing our eyes to this fact at Virginia Tech, the recent Omaha mall shootings, and other mass killings in "gun free zones." Why adult, screened, trained, licensed, law-abiding students over the age of 21 who carry everywhere else in their daily lives without incident are denied the right to protect themselves while on campus is beyond comprehension.

The fact that the AG has refused to stand up for us and our human right of self defense tells me he doesn't deserve my support.

Seth (member, GMU Students for Concealed Carry on Campus)

Posted by: Seth (GMU Law Student) | December 18, 2007 7:24 PM | Report abuse

"The NRA was upset that McDonnell voted in the state senate for the state's one-gun-a-month law, which Deeds opposed."

Note - McDonnell did not serve in the state senate, he served in the House of Delegates.

Posted by: notpaulnardo | December 19, 2007 11:02 AM | Report abuse

what's wrong with having more than one gun a month? sometimes I get a gun and then I lose it somewhere or sell it to a guy on a street corner and then I need another one these limits hurt commerce and they hurt the economy

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2007 2:57 PM | Report abuse

is jim webb going to weigh in on this? one of his staffers was arrested for carrying his guns around in DC, this should be a big deal

Posted by: Anonymous | December 19, 2007 9:40 PM | Report abuse

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