Cuccinelli OKs guns in churches

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Virginia cannot ban people from carrying guns for self-protection into churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship, Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II said in an advisory opinion released Monday.

State statutes generally prohibits carrying a firearm into “a place of worship while a meeting for religious purposes is being held at such place.” The statute provides an exception to the general prohibition when an individual has a “good and sufficient reason” for carrying the firearm.

Delegate Mark Cole requested the opinion, saying the exception made the law ambiguous.

The attorney general said carrying a weapon for self-defense legally constitutes a good and sufficient reason under the statute — assuming that the citizen is lawfully able to carry a weapon, and if carrying concealed, has the appropriate permit to do so.

Mr. Cuccinelli noted in the opinion that the Second Amendment acts as a restraint on government, not on private parties. He said that religious entities — like any other private property owner — can restrict or ban the carrying of weapons onto their premises.

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