Cuccinelli, gun rights advocates rally in Richmond
More than 100 gun rights advocates, many of them wearing handguns on their hips, rallied in Capital Square in Richmond today, urging expansion of gun rights in Virginia and beyond.
Members of the crowd sported orange stickers that read "Guns Save Lives." A few held yellow "Don't Tread on Me" Gadsden flags that have become associated with the Tea Party movement.
Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli addressed the crowd, praising them for their efforts on behalf of guns rights. Standing on a makeshift speaking platform, he opened with a joke: "We've been in office less than three months. It's been kind of boring."
"Okay," he conceded, "Not so much."
Cuccinelli has quickly become of the nation's best-known advocates for conservative activism, with pending lawsuits against the federal government over health care and the EPA's regulation of greenhouse gases, and his presence at the gun rally had drawn a bank of television cameras. Cuccinelli told the crowd that no one in Virginia should be surprised by his stands.
"Anyone who watches what we're doing in office in the first three months, who paid attention during our campaign, shouldn't be surprised at all. We talked very clearly about reining in government power. We talked very clearly about being aggressive in protecting the Constitution, as it was written. What a concept," he said.
"And that's all we've done, in suing the EPA, in suing over the health-care bill: Exactly what we said we were going to do. As clear and blunt as we were last year about choosing this course, if you vote for Ken Cuccinelli, this is the course you get. And we got more votes for attorney general than any one in the history of Virginia."
"Virginians support protecting the constitution aggressively," he concluded.
Other speakers praised the Virginia General Assembly for passing a bill to allow concealed weapons permit holders to carry their guns in restaurants that serve alcohol, provided they do not drink.
But the leadership of the Democratic-controlled state Senate came in for criticism for creating a special committee to kill 15 other pieces of gun-related legislation. Philip Van Cleve with the Virginia Citizen Defense League called on rally participants to replace the "anti-Constitution, anti-freedom, anti-gun" leadership of the state Senate.
One crowd member not impressed: Lori Haas, a gun control advocate whose daughter Emily was injured in the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings. Haas often attends such events, standing silently in the crowd. She called the gun rights lobbyists a "small, loud interest group" that pushes state lawmakers to positions that most Virginians oppose.
April 12, 2010; 4:17 PM ET
Categories: Rosalind Helderman
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