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AG Cuccinelli Opinion on UVA No-Guns Policy

AG Cuccinelli Opinion on UVA No-Guns Policy

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AG Cuccinelli Opinion on UVA ‘No-Guns’ Policy

Attorney General says UVA gun ban isn't worth the paper it is written on for visiting CHP holders, only somewhat for visiting open carriers.
AG Cuccinelli Opinion on UVA ‘No-Guns’ Policy

Attorney General says UVA gun ban isn't worth the paper it is written on for visiting CHP holders, only somewhat for visiting open carriers.

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: AmmoLand Shooting Sports News on Jul 05, 2011
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07/05/2011

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COMMONWEALTH
of
VIRGINIA
Kenneth
T.
Cuccinelli,
n
AttorneyGeneral
TheHonorableEmmett
W.
Hanger,
Jr.
Member,Senate
of
VirginiaPostOfficeBox2MountSolon,
VA
22843DearSenatorHanger:
OfficeoftheAttorneyGeneral
July1,2011
900EastMainStreetRichmond,Virginia23219804-786-2071
FAX
804-786-1991VirginiaRelayServices800-828-11207-1-1
Iamrespondingtoyourrequestforanofficialadvisoryopinioninaccordancewith
§
2.2-505
of
the
Code
of
Virginia.
IssuePresented
You
askwhetherapolicy
of
theUniversity
of
Virginiaprohibitingthepossession
of
firearmsandammunitionbyvisitorsinsideUniversitybuildingsandhospitalswithoutpriorwrittenconsent
of
theUniversity'sChief
of
Policeislegal.
Response
It
ismyopinionthat,underthepresentstate
of
the
law,
theUniversitylawfullymaypromulgateapolicythatprohibitspersonsfromopenlycarryingafirearminthebuildingsthataresubjecttothepolicy.Itisfurthermyopinionthatwithrespecttopersonswhohaveaconcealedcarrypermit,becausetheUniversityadoptedapolicyratherthanaregulation,ithasnot"otherwiseprohibitedbylaw"personswithaconcealedcarrypermitfrompossessingahandgun,and,therefore,thepoliciesmaynotbeusedtoprohibitpersonswithsuchapermitfromcarryingaconcealedfirearmintothebuildingscoveredbythepolicy.
Background
TheUniversity
of
Virginiahasadoptedtwopoliciesregulatingthepossession,storageanduse
of
firearmsinUniversitybuildingsand
in
hospitalbuildings.PolicySEC-030,
I
amongotherthings,provideswithrespecttovisitorsthatThepossession,storageoruse
of
anyfirearm,weapon,ammunition,orexplosivesonanyUniversitypropertyorwithinanyUniversityfacilitybyanyone,exceptalawenforcementofficer,withoutthepriorwrittenpermission
of
theUniversity'sChief
of
Policeorhisdesigneeisprohibited.
J
Thepolicycanbefoundathttps://policy.itc.virginia.edu/policy/policydisplay?id=SEC-030.
 
HonorableEmmett
W.
Hanger,
Jr.
July1,2011Page2ThispolicyfurtherstatesthatForpurposes
of
thispolicy,Universityfacilitiesinclude,butarenotlimitedto,anyacademic,administration,residential,research,medical,entertainmentorsportsvenuesincludinganyamphitheater,arena,classroom,clinic,dormitoryorotherresidentialfacility,gymnasium,laboratory,office,stadium,theaterandtheMedicalCenter.
An
additionaldefinitionprovidesthat"UniversityFacility"includes"[a]nydefinedspace
of
theUniversity,includingaroom,lab,seriesoflabs,buildingorcontrolledoutdoorarea."TheMedicalCenterattheUniversity
of
Virginiaalsohasadoptedapolicygoverningfirearms.PolicyNumber0174
2
providesinrelevantpartthatPatientsandvisitorstotheMedicalCenter(withtheexception
of
lawenforcementofficers)areprohibitedfrompossessing,storingorusinganyfirearm,weapon,ammunition,orexplosiveswithinanyUniversityfacility,withoutthepriorwrittenpermission
of
theUniversity'sChief
of
Policeorhisdesignee.Thispolicydefines"UniversityFacility"
as
"[a]nydefinedspaceattheUniversity(includingallMedicalCenterfacilities),includingaroom,lab,series
of
labs,buildingorcontrolledoutdoorarea."
Applicable
Law
and
DiscussionTherighttobeararmsisprotectedbytheConstitutions
of
Virginia
3
and
of
theUnitedStates.
4
TheUnitedStatesSupremeCourthasrecognizedthattheSecondAmendment
of
theUnitedStatesprotectsanindividualrighttobeararms
5
and,further,thatthisrightoperates
as
arestrictionontheStates
as
wellasthefederalgovernment.
6
TheprotectionsaffordedbytheVirginiaConstitutioninthisareaareco-extensivewiththose
of
theSecondAmendment.
7
Thelaw
is
notsettledatthistimewithrespecttohowstrictlycourtswillevaluaterestrictions
on
theuseandpossession
of
firearms.TheUnitedStatesSupremeCourthasstatedthattherighttobeararmsis"notunlimited,
just
astheFirstAmendment'sright
of
freespeech[is]
no1.',8
Inaddition,theCourthasnotedthatthegovernmentmayenact"lawsforbiddingthecarrying
of
firearmsinsensitiveplacessuchasschoolsandgovernmentbuildings.,,9Withrespecttocarryingfirearmsinsideuniversitybuildings,theSupremeCourt
of
Virginiarecentlydecided
DiGiacinto
v.
Rector
and
Visitors
of
GeorgeMasonUniversity.
In
thatcase,theCourtheldthataregulationpromulgatedbyGeorgeMasonUniversitywaslawfulandsatisfiedboththeSecond
2
Iwasunabletolocatethispolicyinthesections
of
theUniversity'swebsitethatareopentothepublic.
It
is
attachedtothisopinion.
3
"[T]heright
of
thepeopletokeepandbeararmsshallnot
be
infringed[.]"
VA.
CONST.
art.
I,
§
13.
4
"[T]heright
of
thepeopletokeepandbearArms,shallnotbeinfringed."U.S.
CONST.
amend.
II.
5
District
of
Columbiav.Heller,
554
U.S.
570,606(2008).
6
McDonald
v.
City
of
Chicago,
130
S.
Ct.
3020,3050(2010).
7
DiGiacinto
v.
Rector
&
Visitors
of
GeorgeMasonUniv.,
281
Va.
127,133-34,704
S.E.2d
365,368-69(2011).
8
Heller,
554U.S.
at
595.
9Id.
at
625-26.
 
HonorableEmmett
W.
Hanger,
Jr.
July1,2011Page3Amendment
of
theUnitedStatesConstitutionandArticle
I,
§
13
of
theConstitution
of
Virginia.
10
Theregulationatissuein
DiGiacinto
providesasfollows:Possessionorcarrying
of
anyweaponbyanyperson,exceptapoliceofficer,
is
prohibitedonuniversitypropertyinacademicbuildings,administrativeofficebuildings,studentresidencebuildings,diningfacilities,orwhileattendingsporting,entertainmentoreducationalevents.Entryupontheaforementioneduniversitypropertyisexpresslyforbidden.
[11]
TheCourtreasonedthattheUniversityhas30,000studentsenrolledrangingfromage16toseniorcitizens,andthatover350members
of
theincomingfreshmanclasswouldbeundertheage
of
18.Alsoapproximately50,000elementaryandhighschoolstudentsattendsummercampsatGMUandapproximately130childrenattendthechildstudycenterpreschoolthere.All
of
theseindividualsuseGMU'sbuildingsandattendeventsoncampus.ThefactthatGMU
is
aschoolandthatitsbuildingsareowned
by
thegovernmentindicatesthatGMUisa"sensitive
place.,,[12]
TheCourtfounditsignificantthattheregulationpromulgatedbyGeorgeMasonUniversity"doesnotimposeatotalban
of
weaponsoncampus.,,13Instead,"theregulationistailored,restrictingweaponsonlyinthoseplaceswherepeoplecongregateandaremostvulnerable-insidecampusbuildingsandatcampusevents.,,14Importantly,"[i]ndividualsmaystillcarryorpossessweaponsontheopengrounds
of
GMUandinotherplacesoncampusnotenumeratedintheregulation.,,15Although
DiGiacinto
specificallyaddressedaregulation
of
firearmsinuniversitybuildingsratherthanmedicalbuildings,thelogic
of
thedecisionapplieswithequalforcetothepolicyadoptedbytheMedicalCenter.ApplyingtheCourt'sreasoningtothehospitalcontext,hospitalsharborlargenumbers
of
vulnerablepatients,includingchildren,theelderlyandpatientswithmentalillnesses.Therearetwosignificantdifferences,however,betweenthepolicies
at
issuehereandtheregulationatissuein
DiGiacinto.
First,thepoliciesadoptedbytheUniversity
of
VirginiaandtheMedicalCenterarebroaderthantheregulationatissuein
DiGiacinto.
Forexample,theMedicalCenterpolicyincludeswithinthebana"controlledoutdoorarea"andbothpoliciesincludevirtuallyallUniversitybuildingsandproperty.TheCourtin
DiGiacinto
notedasaconsiderationinfavor
of
theconstitutionality
of
GeorgeMasonUniversity'sregulationthefactthattheregulationwas"tailored"and
10
DiGiacinto,
281
Va.
at
127,
704
S.E.2dat
365.
11
Id.
at
130-31,704
S.E.2d365,367(quoting8
VA.
ADMIN.CODE
§
35-60-20).
12
Id.
at
135-36,
704
S.E.2dat
370.
Like
theBoard
of
VisitorsofGeorge
Mason
University,
the
Board
of
Visitors
at
theUniversity
of
Virginia
is
tasked
with
the
"care
and
preservationof
the
propertybelonging
to
the
University."
VA.
CODE
ANN.
§
23-76(2006).
13
Id.
at
136,
704
S.E.2dat
370.
14Id.
15
The
conclusion
of
theSupremeCourt
of
Virginiagenerally
is
consistentwithaprioropinion
from
this
Office,which
concludedthat"[t]heuniversalprohibitionof
fIrearmsby
properlypermittedpersonsother
than
students,
faculty,
administration,
or
employees
...
is
notallowedunder
the
law."2006
Op.
Va.
Att'y
Gen.116,118.
Nevertheless,auniversitymayimposecertainregulations
or
prohibitionsconcerning
fIrearmstoensure
-
initsview
-
the
safe
operationofthecampus.
Id.

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