Cuccinelli: Private groups can bar guns in public spaces
Private organizations that rent space from local governments can ban or regulate weapons at their events, according to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.
Responding to a request for an opinion from Loudoun Del. Tag Greason (R), Cucccinelli wrote Wednesday that private groups can apply their own rules on guns when they have paid to use government space for private functions. Greason's request dealt specifically with the Alexandria Red Cross and whether the group can bar guns at a waterfront festival held on land leased from the city.
"As a general proposition, the Constitution acts as a restraint on government, not private actors. It is well established that private actors may do certain things on government property that the government itself could not do," he writes.
In his opinion, Cuccinelli likens the situation to others in which private groups can impose their own rules, even when meeting in public spaces, where government would be restrained.His example: if the government allows groups to rent space and teach morals to children, it cannot ban those that pray or read from the Bible.
But private groups have more freedom. For instance -- other Cuccinelli examples -- a church leasing a high school auditorium can bar nonbelievers; a local Republican committee meeting in public library can keep out Democrats.
Read the whole opinion here.
March 18, 2010; 10:56 AM ET
Categories: Ken Cuccinelli , Rosalind Helderman
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