In his letter published in these pages on July 11, Matthew D. Hardin said that one of his roles as Commonwealth’s Attorney is “to protect the Constitution and every citizen’s Constitutional Rights.”
There is not a single word in the Code of Virginia that suggests that Hardin or any other Commonwealth’s Attorney should be lobbying for his personal interpretation of the Constitution and its Second Amendment clause, much less appealing to citizens to phone their elected representatives to support his view.
Instead the Code specifies that the Commonwealth’s Attorney is responsible only for enforcing the criminal law within a particular county or city.
Many U.S. historians and scholars of the Constitution have pointed out that the Second Amendment was intended to permit the states to raise a militia at a time when there was no national military. Clearly, our founding fathers did not intend to write a free Constitutional ticket for today’s rapid-fire weapons that can cause mass destruction or for the arming of people showing signs of mental illness.
Debating the merits of common-sense gun regulations with Hardin is not my purpose here. My purpose is to offer my view that it is rare for a Commonwealth’s Attorney to engage in political lobbying. Instead most Commonwealth’s Attorneys rightfully understand that their jobs are to enforce existing criminal laws in a non-partisan, fair manner.