I must confess that I don't pay political issues much mind—sure, the Virginia restaurant lobby keeps me well apprised of the doings in Richmond, but I give most things political scant notice. I have a restaurant to run and that is two-and-a-half full-time jobs.
But wanted or not, sometimes politics intrude into my life. Just yesterday, the local TV station sent a reporter by to interview me about guns and restaurants. Not wanting to miss any face time on TV, I had to say something. ;)
The reporter's visit reminded me that our silly season is back. Yes friends, once again, it's time for the annual wrangle in the Commonwealth of Virginia between the legislature and the governor over concealed carry of handguns in establishments licensed by the Virginia ABC, that is, restaurants and bars.
It is currently illegal to carry a concealed weapon (not just a handgun) in such establishments and last year, the legislature voted to make it legal. The governor shot this down [pun intended] and the legislature didn't have enough muscle to override the veto. This year is looking very déjà vu.
I own a gun and I admit that I love shooting poor defenseless skeet, not that I am any good at it and not that I get out to shoot more than a couple of times a year. I don't belong to the NRA. I'm not a rabid second amendment type: it is clear to me that a private citizen has no legitimate need to possess an AK, machine gun, etc.
And, if the government does take away your right to possess an AK, it's not the beginning of that mythical slippery slope that sees the government further infringing your second amendment rights.
That said, I think I stand pretty much where the average American does on this issue.
Now back to the brouhaha in Richmond. Open carry is already permitted in Virginia: you can legally openly carry a weapon into restaurants and bars. To my mind, concealed carry is not terribly different from open carry, so the proposed legislation is largely symbolic—yea or nay, it isn't really going to make a huge difference. My understanding of the proposed legislation is that the carrier has to declare the weapon and may not consume alcohol, which makes it absolutely no different from open carry.
The gun control lefties don't want concealed carry in the worst way and the second amendment righties want it in the worst way and the rest of us in the middle are asking, "Don't we have bigger issues that our legislators should be tackling?"
Regardless of your position on this legislation, you have to admit that adding guns to an alcohol-fueled environment is not a great idea. In fact, it's a terrible idea.
Individual business owners in Virginia, regardless of the prevailing carry law, are free to permit or prohibit weapons in their establishments. Because mixing alcohol and weapons is a terrible idea, I prohibit all weapons—not just guns—open or concealed, except for those carried by peace officers performing their duties.
Bottom line, I leave my gun at home when I come to the restaurant. I expect you to do the same. Regardless of the law, a restaurant is no place for a gun.
This is my reaction to the reporter showing up at my restaurant yesterday and my explanation of the no weapons policy at my restaurant. Be forewarned: we are not going to debate gun control issues on my restaurant blog. Take it elsewhere.