Skip to comments.Some Virginia Businesses May Ban Armed Customers
Posted on 07/18/2004 11:04:36 AM PDT by Mulder
FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) - Carrying a weapon in public is legal in Virginia, but it's also upsetting to some. One restaurant chain owner had employees at his four northern Virginia shops post signs last week prohibiting firearms and declaring themselves a "safe zone." Kevin M. Tracy, director of operations for The Bungalow, said the restaurants banned gun-toting customers in March after a man with a firearm strapped to his hip sat down in its Franconia restaurant and ordered a drink. The man properly asserted that Virginia law allows him to openly carry his weapon.
But Tracy thinks guns, with the exception of those carried by police officers, have no place in his restaurants. "People change when they have alcohol," Tracy told The Washington Post. "I think people make too many bad judgments. I've had people who were perfectly wonderful snap."
Virginia residents must have permits to carry concealed weapons, which are prohibited by law from establishments that serve alcohol -- but guns openly displayed are permitted.
Still, restaurant and other business owners in the state have the right to ban customers carrying weapons - both openly carried and concealed - on their property, said Tom Lisk, general counsel for the Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association. Establishments can either post a notice or approach customers directly, he said, and people who violate the notice can be prosecuted under a trespass statute.
Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for Virginia Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore, said his office could not comment on whether businesses may legally ban patrons carrying guns, because it requires an "interpretation of law" that could not immediately be provided.
Many residents didn't know they had the right to pack a pistol in public until recent incidents in northern Virginia shops and restaurants. Fairfax police have said that residents have been spotted in the county with guns strapped to their hips three times in recent weeks.
Police said a group of men openly carrying guns at a Champps restaurant in Reston last month prompted a 911 call. Three days after that, an officer spotted a couple packing pistols at Reston Town Center. The instances involved members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, an organization of thousands of gun owners statewide, according to Philip Van Cleave, the group's president.
Jim Snyder, 54, of the Kingstowne area, one of the gun owners spotted at Champps, said there's an unfair perception that he and his brethren are prone to violence. He carries his Colt .45 for protection, he said.
"I'm definitely not a wannabe Rambo," said Snyder, who does not have a concealed weapons permit and must carry his gun openly. "I'd rather skulk away from a confrontation than go in. This is a tool of last resort."
The issue is expected to come up for debate in the General Assembly next year. Some lawmakers who share Tracy's concern said the debate, as in recent years, is likely to center on whether patrons should be allowed to carry guns in restaurants, such as The Bungalow, that serve alcohol.
State Sen. Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax) said she'll reintroduce a bill that would prohibit openly carried guns anywhere alcohol is served.
"I think that any reasonable person would agree that alcohol and guns don't mix," Howell said. "It's better to make sure that nothing happens than be sorry afterward."
Jim Sollo, president of Virginians Against Handgun Violence, said his group believes the combination of guns and alcohol will eventually lead to trouble. He's counting on the recent episodes to stir up support for Howell's legislation next year.
"We think open carrying is dangerous. Sooner or later one of these guys is going to do something stupid or an unfortunate accident is going to happen," Sollo said.
But Van Cleave, a former Texas deputy sheriff who said most gun owners are law-abiding citizens, stressed that restaurant and other business owners already can bar weapons from their businesses if they choose. He said his members respect those choices and are advised to "politely leave" if asked.
Mike Stollenwerk, the man who was asked to leave The Bungalow that March evening, said he often openly carries his weapon in restaurants and "if people feel uncomfortable I've never noticed it."
It's legal in Virginia and a dozen other states. They don't seem to have a problem with it.
Carrying concealed in places that serve alcholol is legal in about 30 states. And they don't seem to have a problem with it.
I disagree, four of us went to lunch today after Church, two of us were carrying open, and one concealed. The only response from anyone, was the restaurant owner, who I have known for years, said he didn't know I carried.
You obviously don't have a clue, it is NOT legal to carry open in Virginia, in any establishment that serves alcohol, nor is it legal in a dozen other states.
Yeah, it is.
Not only are you stupid, you are also arrogrant and have an extreme superiority complex, which leads me to believe that you're either a cop or a gov't employee.
Perception is a funny thing.
An M1911 in Cond. One is a fine fashion statement in my book. Then again, I think spats look great too. Things that work appeal to me. John Moses Browning is one of my favorite high-fashion designers. In fact, if he hadn't designed my pretty little Hi-Powers, I wouldn't carry a 9mm no how, unless ordered to.
Here in my state if an establishment makes less than 51% of their profit from alcohol served on the premises then licensed carry is allowed. Thus if I go to a resturant that serves drinks and makes more on food vs booze then I can carry legally unless posted with a very specific sign required by law at the door. If the sign is posted then I don't enter anyway.......any business than openly declares their patrons unarmed is a place that doesn't get my families time or money.
You are not breaking any law disregarding a retailers company policy Why the hysterical reaction????
You know, maybe you should familiarize yourself with the laws of NC before you advise someone to break them. In NC a CC licensee would be in violation of the NC concealed weapon law by carrying a gun onto business premises that are posted by the owner or manager of the business with a sign prohibiting weapons. The NC Attorney General's letter I received doesn't say whether it is a felony or a misdemeanor offense, but I don't want to risk either one.
If you want to come to NC and risk sneaking your gun into a posted restaurant, have at it. Personally, I prefer to obey the law and not risk losing my CCL, which would be the the bare minimum penalty if I were caught.
In any case, now that the Pizza Hut franchise has decided it's better business practice to allow legally carried guns in it's restaurants than to lose profits, any CW licensee can carry his or her gun into the place without worrying about being found out and possibly arrested. What's your problem with that?? Or do you just have a problem with the unwashed masses carrying concealed firearms under any circumstances?
Stay safe !
You call open carry advocates buffoons simply because Florida has a 10-15-Life law. In Florida you may be right, but in the broader context you are making a qualitative judgment based on what Florida law is, not on what truly is a good idea. If Florida law banned tea-drinking after 5 p.m. would that make drinking tea at 6 p.m. a bad idea. No. The quality or nature of something is not defined by the law. In practice the law should reinforce what is understood as good. We don't have (I don't believe) that same law in Texas. So your advocacy is moot outside of Florida.
You intimate that open carry may be an "intimidating" factor in minor incidences. I don't see how this is relevant unless what you're really arguing is that it is more likely that someone carrying open will use his side arm and conversely that someone carrying concealed wouldn't. This is a non-sequitor and I don't think you can prove that. If intimidation is your concern then Florida should outlaw being 6-foot 5 and weighing over 260 lbs. because that would intimidate me to no end if I had an accident and the guy in the other car looked like Atlas.
You may disagree with my point about policemen "regularly" killing innocents, and in retrospect that word may have been a poor one. But my point stands. Humans make mistakes including so-called trained experts. Don't point to one mistake and extrapolate from that that there will be wholsale mayhem (or as you say "wild west fantasies" or somesuch nonsense). It hasn't happened with concealed carry, why would open carry be any different?
For the sake of other readers, I am not hostile to police. I simply recognize that they too are humans with problems also (bad kids, financial problems, marital issues, job pressures) and they are not magical people. To assume so and subsequently yeild your rights based on this assumption is just plain foolish. Put a pair of shorts and a Hawiian shirt on a policeman and you have a regular citizen. If citizens have their foibles, then so do policemen.
That is good news. I'll bet you don't live in Alexandria though. Heh heh.
I have a letter from the NC AG saying it is a violation of the NC CC law to carry a weapon into a posted business. Although the letter doesn't say if violation is a misdemeanor or a felony it is at the least a misdemeanor. If the business owner is a hard line anti-gun freak he or she could not only ask a violator to leave the premises, the violator could be charged with a crime and at the very least have his/her CCL revoked. In NC those are the facts jack, it may not be the same in FL. Whether or not anyone has been prosecuted for violating that law, I don't want to be the first.
In any case, being thrown out of a restaurant by an irate anti-gun store owner isn't my idea of a pleasant experience. Now that won't happen to me or any other lawful gun carrier who patronizes that restaurant. I don't know what your problem is with pro-gun activism, but it's your problem not mine.
As I said before, if you want to break NC law and risk losing your CCL feel free to do so. I would rather be on the right side of the law, not to mention the satisfaction I got from seeing anti-gun Pizza Hut persuaded to acknowledge the right of it's customers to go lawfully armed. If every other CCL licensee would take the same action with other posted businesses maybe more of the signs would come down. But I guess that would be a "hysterical" reaction according to your point of view.
Your statement quoted above leads me to believe you don't have a FL CCL and don't even know the FL law in that regard. When I lived in FL a few years ago an applicant for a CCL was required to attend a state approved firearms training class before being issued a CCL. In my county the classes were taught by authorized NRA instructors and consisted of two 8 hour sessions. The only exceptions to the training requirement were ex-military or police personnel who had received formal firearms training in those positions. According to my friend in Bradenton that training requirement has not been changed since I left.
The only thing I can deduce from your argumentative posts is that you are opposed to the entire concept of lawful gun carry by anyone except LEOs. Nice try, but no cigar. Next time you try to disrupt a gun-related thread at least try to get your facts straight before posting.
There are no "bars" in Virginia. There are restaurants with on-premises Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) licenses. The ban on concealed carry applies to any patron of any restaurant of any sort which holds an ABC license, regardless of whether that patron is drinking. I, and many other Virginians, find this act of prior restraint to be repugnant. We're going to get it repealed, sooner or later. If the folks in Washington State were as sane as we are, they'd be trying to get it repealed as well.
Please identify your business, so that next time I travel to Florida I can avoid it. For your convenience, I'll make sure that all my friends and business colleagues know not to disturb your sense of well being with their presence, either.
Somebody needs to post the name and emails of businesses that ban guns here.
I will gladly email them (w/o my address, of course) and tell them I will not be visiting...due to their policy.
If enough people do this...their policy might change.
Some armed criminals likely to visit "gun banned" area businesses.
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