Cuccinelli Speaks Out About Opinion on Guns at UVA

Posted: Updated: Aug 5, 2011 06:11 PM EDT

Virginia Tech is receiving generally positive reviews for how it handled an on-campus gun scare Thursday. It's with some irony that a day later, Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is again talking about having the University of Virginia bow to state laws and allow those with permits to bring guns onto grounds.

In an opinion issued last month at the request of a Republican state senator, Cuccinelli says the University of Virginia may not bar people with concealed carry permits from bringing firearms onto grounds.

Cuccinelli said, "Honestly all we say in an opinion is what the law is. We didn't change the law."

The attorney general says his duty is to uphold the law even if the law makes some people uncomfortable. Cuccinelli says that there should be no change to safety and security at the University of Virginia.

The attorney general says he simply responded to a request for information as he's required by law to do. "This isn't Ken Cuccinelli's opinion. This is this office's best estimation of what a Virginia court would do if this same question were in controversy," he stated.

At issue is UVA's policy banning weapons on grounds and at the hospital. Cuccinelli says a "policy" does not carry the force of law. "So the policy can't stop or impair a concealed carry permit holder's rights," he said.

He says claims that his words will make the university less safe are unfounded. "You shouldn't see any shift in public safety on grounds at UVA," Cuccinelli stated.

In a state with a particular sensitivity campus violence the attorney general admits there will always be questions about guns at universities.

Cuccinelli stated, "I don't see that debate going away."

But in this case, Cuccinelli, who is a passionate defender of the second amendment, says his only obligation is to the law. "My personal opinion just doesn't factor in."

A spokeswoman for the University of Virginia says that there has been no change in UVA's position on the opinion. The university's lawyers are reviewing it and are determining how to respond. The spokeswoman said the administration's focus is on keeping folks safe on grounds.