The Washington Post

Gun rights group plans protest at George Mason University

The Virginia Citizens Defense League will hold a demonstration this fall at George Mason University in Fairfax to protest rules that make it more difficult to carry firearms on campuses.

“Higher-education ‘no gun’ policies do not make the innocent any safer,’’ the group wrote in an e-mail to supporters. “Those policies disarm students, faculty and staff not only on campus, but going to and from campus.”

The protest follows a Virginia Supreme Court decision earlier this year that George Mason University’s ban on guns in campus buildings and events, such as football games, is permissible.

Gun owner Rudolph DiGiacinto, who is not a student, had sued the school, arguing the prohibition violates the state constitution.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli filed a brief in that case — DiGiacinto v. The Rector and Visitors of George Mason University — defending George Mason’s position, earning him criticism from the Citizens Defense League.

But Cuccinelli in July issued an opinion saying that a school may restrict people from openly carrying weapons but it can’t limit the rights of permit holders.

Citizen Defense League President Philip Van Cleave says an armed student could have prevented the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech, which claimed more than 30 lives.

“Just who exactly do those who live in the Ivory Towers think they are to dictate what your life or mine is worth?’’ the group writes. “Where do they get the authority to do so? Gun laws are strictly controlled by the General Assembly and there is NO enabling legislation giving higher-ed the authority to have gun-control on campus. Too many of those in the Ivory Towers are so lost in the alternate world of academia, they become isolated from reality.”

The group is urging alumni to withhold its donations from schools until they allow guns on campus.

Other protests will take place around the state at the University of Virginia, the College of William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Tech, Old Dominion University, James Madison University and Radford University.

Dates for the protests have not been set.


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