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I'll Have The Chicken--And By The Way, I'm Packing

With all the talk about Virginia being in play in this fall's presidential race, and with Virginia's embrace of Barack Obama being cited by pundits across the land as evidence of some leftward drift in what has been since 1964 a rock-solid Republican state, it may be useful to take a reality check. And where better to look than in Richmond, home of the General Assembly, the legislature that loves to stand tall for good old Virginia values.

The House of Delegates last week decided to join the Senate in embracing this great new idea: Guns and alcohol are splendid mixers. The House voted 62-36 to let people with concealed weapons permits carry their guns into bars or restaurants. Oh, don't worry--the lawmakers did this responsibly: The person carrying the gun will have to notify a bar or restaurant employee that he's packing. (The existing law requires anyone carrying a firearm into a bar to make certain the weapon is visible--a tradition that goes back to the 19th century and is evident in most any good Western. Guns on the bar, gentlemen.)

Gov. Tim Kaine might yet veto this bill (SB 476.) But the House could then override his veto (the 62 votes the measure won are five short of what's needed to override.)

"My strong feeling," Kaine told the Virginian-Pilot, "has been that bars and Pizza Huts where families go to have pizza with their kids, that more weapons in those places does not lead to public safety."

Or as a restaurateur put it: "Why would somebody want to have a gun in a restaurant?" Mike Standing, of Waterman's Surfside Grille in Virginia Beach, told the Virginian-Pilot. "In case the crab legs came alive and got angry?"

Amazingly, the supporters of the effort to blend guns and drinking see taking a gun into places where arguments tend to flare as perfectly logical. "I've been waiting for this bill for years," Del. Harvey Morgan (R-Gloucester) told the Associated Press. "I've always thought it was absolutely insane to require someone legally carrying a firearm to somehow dispose of it before getting a bite to eat."

Another supporter, writing on Richmond Sunlight, put the rationale for the bill this way:

"I already carry in restaurants, and I don't drink when I do. However, I must carry openly - that is, the firearm is not concealed. This means I need to take off my jacket before I enter and put it back on only after I leave. This is an inconvenience but not much of one. The real problem is that many women that I know that carry a firearm do so in such a way that they cannot un-conceal it easily (i.e., it is in their purse, in a belly band or concealed in some other way). For them to legally enter a restaurant that serves alcohol, they must leave the gun elsewhere - like in the car. This not only leaves a gun unprotected for a criminal - I know a person who left his gun in his car during a meal and came back to find it stolen - but it also leaves the woman unprotected as she walks to and from her vehicle."

Sadly, the guns and gin bill is hardly an anomaly. The Senate killed a bill that had already passed the House that would double the punishment for underage drinkers who drive.

The bill, sponsored by Del. William Janis (R-Henrico) would have made it illegal for an underage driver to consume any alcohol and would have punished violations with a fine of up to $500 and up to 12 months in prison, as well as a one-year suspension from driving.

But we wouldn't want to interfere with young people learning the skills they will need so they can graduate to carrying guns into bars, so the Senate killed that bill.

Virginia is surely a changing place, and with two consecutive Democratic governors and a pretty secure shot at the Dems gaining control of both of the state's U.S. Senate seats by the end of this year, it is a considerably different political landscape than it's been through most of the past half-century. But as the action in Richmond consistently reminds us, this is no blue state, not even close.

By Marc Fisher |  February 26, 2008; 7:49 AM ET
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I've always felt that Northern Virginia should secede from the rest of Virginia. If I saw someone openly carrying a gun into a restaurant, I'd pack up my family and leave. There is such a divide between NoVa and RoVa.

Posted by: Springfield, VA | February 26, 2008 8:36 AM

I just hope that the utter stupidity of this legislation and the disturbingly large majority with which it passed gives us some pause when we dismiss peoples from other parts of the world as "savages."

Posted by: Paul | February 26, 2008 8:49 AM

Fisher is just anti-handgun: a view he is entitled to hold. Assuming handgun carry is legitimate, it makes no sense to ban concealed weapons from restaurants just because alcohol is served. Concealed weapons permit holders are backgrounded, the bad guys who carry aren't. Virginia allows concealed carry, so the restaurant ban is silly (as is the notification requirment being built into the repeal of the ban). By the way, the rest of Virginia would be happy to see us in NoVA go away...yes we pay lots of taxes, but we also consume a lot of infrastructure money.

Posted by: Ben | February 26, 2008 8:52 AM

The point is that the current law applies to places that serve alcohol, which includes many, many restaurants (and all bars in Virginia must serve food). So if that quiet Italian restaurant down the street has a wine list, you can't bring your concealed weapon in, even if you only drink water.

I trust my fellow Virginians who have concealed carry permits not to drink when packing. I don't trust the police to protect me from every attacker who may lurk between the restaurant and my car.

Furthermore, restaurants and bars are private property--so the owners are free to ban guns if they feel it's unsafe (and people with concealed carry permits will honor this).

Posted by: William | February 26, 2008 8:56 AM

First there are no bars in VA by ABC regs. You also have to sell food. Chances that someone openly carrying in a restaurant is going to harm your family is very remote, hoss.

Marc wants everyone to live like folks do in DC with only criminals carrying. Lets compare VA's murder rate to DCs?

And why go to a restaurant bubba for a drink in VA when you can consume fine untaxed VA corn liquor.

You are a lot safer in Rova then you are in NOVA. Take rural VA over Springfield anyday no MS 13 and no overpaid yuppies with road rage carrying.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2008 9:05 AM

Marc - A few points you missed. Virginia law makes no distinction between restaurants that serve alcohol and "bars." If you have a government issued permit why can't you have dinner at Applebees. If a permit holder left their pistol in their car it could be stolen. Then you would be complaining that people are leaving unattended gun in cars! Your opposition to people owning guns is based on this weird idea that a gun is like the magic ring in Tolkiens books the causes the owner to go insane. If society can trust a teenager with a 4000 lb car going 60 mph, why can't you trust a law abiding gun owner who has passed a criminal background check and training?

Posted by: responsible owner | February 26, 2008 9:11 AM

More people die in alcohol related auto accidents than gun incidents. Yet we still allow people to drive to and from restaurants and bars. How many people would be outraged if a bill was passed that prohibited having a motor vehicle within a mile of an alcohol serving establishment?

Having a firearm does not make me any more anxious to be involved in violence. It simply means that if I am left with no alternative in protecting my family I should have that option. After four years as a concealed permit holder I am proud to say my gun has never come out in a public setting, and I hope it never does.

Posted by: Bryan | February 26, 2008 9:14 AM

If this bill passes I will only go to restaurants and bars in DC or MD from now on. I don't need to be shot by somebody who thought booze and concealed weapons are a good idea.

Besides, most of the posts in favor of the bill so far seem to come from paranoid people who are convinced the bogeyman is around every corner, which calls into question their judgment before they even take that first drink. This isn't Iraq, it's Virginia.

If any restaurants want to go "Gun-Free," they will have my business. I'll even contribute to their legal fund when they get sued by an a-hole who isn't happy having 99 out of 100 restaurants allowing him to carry.

Posted by: ArlingtonTiki | February 26, 2008 9:24 AM

Marc trots out the same type of tired arguments the gun-ban crowd used whenever concealed carry was being considered in the states. "Oh, you'll have people being shot in arguments over a parking space, over a grocery cart in the store, at traffic lights due to road rage, etc., etc." None of which have proved true and which they could not back up with any real life examples. Let's also not forget his implication that people who have concealed weapons permits cannot control either their drinking or their rage.

Posted by: Stick | February 26, 2008 9:30 AM

And yet, you almost never hear of law abiding concealed carry holders breaking the law.

Plenty of states have unrestricted concealed carry, and none of them have turned into the "wild west". Why this irrational fear?

Posted by: Liz | February 26, 2008 9:42 AM

To Liz:
Why the irrational fear that if you don't carry a weapon you will be a victim of a violent crime?

Posted by: ArlingtonTiki | February 26, 2008 9:52 AM

Here is why I carry concealed at my local Virginia Starbucks.

The initial investigation disclosed the following: on Monday, July 7, 1997, at approximately 5:15 a.m., the bodies of Mary Caitrin Mahoney, Emory Allen Evans and Aaron David Goodrich were found by the morning store supervisor in the rear of Starbucks Coffee, 1810 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. All three had suffered gunshot wounds. Shift supervisor Mary Mahoney, Emory Evans and David Goodrich worked the last shift the previous day. Further investigation determined that the three were shot shortly after the store closed, and while the store was being shut down on previous evening. This was the last shift at the end of the long Fourth of July weekend, and the receipts for that period -- over $10,000 -- had accumulated in the safe. Although the safe had not been opened, and no money was taken, the available evidence suggested that the murders were the result of an unsuccessful attempted robbery. There were no signs of forced entry.

Thanks to DC gun laws, those employees had ZERO chance to defend themselves.

And in Seattle on January 30, 2008

A blogger from interviewed a witness at today's shooting who said the shooting took place inside the restaurant. He described the events this way: "A gentleman walked inside the Philadelphia Cheese Steak and opened fire and shot two people."

If you're not ready to confront an attacker in a restaurant, well, at least in Virginia you have a choice if you want to carry a gun or not, unlike in DC.

Posted by: C.Fan | February 26, 2008 9:58 AM

Is it really an irrational fear. Women are getting raped in middle and upper class neighborhoods each day. I personally don't carry a gun, but I have plenty of friends who do and they are some of the most responsible people I know when it comes to carrying in their cars.
The people with concealed permits take their rights and responsibilities very seriously. Also, if a restaurant wants to, they can refuse anyone entrance, for pretty much any reason.

Posted by: Jon | February 26, 2008 10:00 AM

NOVA is not ALL of Virginia. Heck, I bet most of y'all think that though. I'm going to assume the majority of complainers come from either Fairfax/Arlington or Loudoun...

Posted by: VA Boy | February 26, 2008 10:10 AM

(This is the same William who commented above.)

To ArlingtonTiki: I'm no paranoid hick, thank you very much. I come from Falls Church, which is generally safe, except for the old woman four blocks away from me who has been sexually assaulted twice in the past year on her way home from work. In my recent time as a student in Charlottesville, there was a violent robbery just yards from my on-campus dormitory, along with a rash of burglaries and several armed robberies elsewhere around the grounds of the University of Virginia.

Posted by: William | February 26, 2008 10:21 AM

I'm confused- what problem is this bill attempting to solve? Are restaurant owners searching people who enter their buildings? It seems to me that if you are carrying a concealed weapon (hopefully with a permit), if it stays concealed, how would anyone know about it anyway?

Posted by: acorn | February 26, 2008 10:30 AM

Gun owners are so incredibly paranoid. I can't imagine going through my life thinking that I'm going to be attacked every time I walk from a restaurant door to my car. That is no way to live your life.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | February 26, 2008 10:37 AM

"I'm confused- what problem is this bill attempting to solve? Are restaurant owners searching people who enter their buildings? It seems to me that if you are carrying a concealed weapon (hopefully with a permit), if it stays concealed, how would anyone know about it anyway?"

People who obtain concealed-carry permits tend to be the sort of people who actually respect and obey the law. The people Marc ought to be worried about are those who carry concealed weapons in DC, where the government only allows criminals to have guns.

Posted by: athea | February 26, 2008 10:45 AM

Acorn: Right now you can carry a gun into a VA establishment (with their acknowledgment) but it can't be concealed. This doesn't usually bother men, who can often attach it to their belts. This can present a problem for women whose outfits make it harder to carry a gun in plain sight.

I am suprised that some people think its unrealistic to protect yourself against attacks? Do these same people have the same objections to mace, since they believe you will never be attacked.

Posted by: Jon | February 26, 2008 10:52 AM

To ArlingtonTiki:

I don't think anyone said or implied anything of the sort. However, if I'm a victim of a violent crime, I'd like to be prepared.

Posted by: Liz | February 26, 2008 10:54 AM

To Arlington, VA;

We are not incredibly paranoid (ok, some of us are, but some of you evidently are too). We believe that being prepared is important, and that we should have the right to defend ourselves from personal harm. That's it.

Posted by: Liz | February 26, 2008 10:57 AM

To Springfield, VA:

Maybe us folks that are close to the good residents of D.C. require firearms at all times. Richmond is not so bad; possibly because the cost of gasoline makes Richmond out of their range.

Springfield is very close though. Enjoy your meal. And enjoy the walk to your car afterwards.

Posted by: NoVA | February 26, 2008 11:02 AM

#1, History has shown that much of the gun violence in DC stems from the fact that you can cross the Potomac into VA, buy a gun with ease (especially at gun shows) then come back to the Capital and start your own shooting gallery.

#2, This whole issue about carrying weapons into bars go against the truth of American history--specifically life as it was really lived in the Wild West, where every man had a gun.

If you brought a weapon into Wyatt Earp's Dodge City KS or Tombstone AZ, you had to turn it in for the duration of your visit. If Earp saw you on the street with a weapon, he would walk up, engage you in polite conversation, then out of nowhere suddenly "buffalo" you with his own pistol
--that is, bring the barrel down hard on your head.

You would wake up in jail and hear the news that you were free to leave, but would get your gun back only when you left town. This rigorous law enforcement kept drunken shootings to a minimum.

In fact, while the Gunfight at the OK Corral was based in some part on prior antagonisms between the Earp brothers and the Clanton family, its immediate cause was that Ike Clanton thought it was a good idea to walk around Tombstone drunk, waving a gun and making threats. It wasn't.

Posted by: Jack | February 26, 2008 11:20 AM

"Richmond is not so bad; possibly because the cost of gasoline makes Richmond out of their range."

Wow, I'm guessing you haven't spent much time in Richmond.

Posted by: Oh really? | February 26, 2008 11:28 AM

LOL! Sure, go on over to DC or MD to be "safer" at night than in VA. ROFL!

Posted by: K-Romulus | February 26, 2008 12:11 PM

I don't get this either - if they can already carry guns why can't they carry them into a restaurant? I assume they can carry them into wallmart, the mall, etc. conceivably they can carry them into an ABC store...they can get drunk at home with their guns...whats the difference?

and to people that are saying they would get up and leave, what do you do the other 99% of the time those same people would be carrying their guns? are you going to boycott all establishments that ban guns? that would pretty much leave you free reign of the courthouse i guess...

Posted by: T$ | February 26, 2008 12:24 PM

For those who do not know the Virginia laws, I kindly post them for you.

§ 18.2-308. Personal protection; carrying concealed weapons; when lawful to carry.


J3. No person shall carry a concealed handgun onto the premises of any restaurant or club as defined in § 4.1-100 for which a license to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption has been granted by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board under Title 4.1 of the Code of Virginia; however, nothing herein shall prohibit any sworn law-enforcement officer from carrying a concealed handgun on the premises of such restaurant or club or any owner or event sponsor or his employees from carrying a concealed handgun while on duty at such restaurant or club if such person has a concealed handgun permit.

# # #

As the law is silent on OPEN CARRY of firearms, it is permitted under Virginia law. Understandably, concealed handgun permit holders would rather conceal carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. After all, they spent all that money on training, the permit fee, the background check, etc., so it kind of defeats the whole purpose to open carry in a restaurant.

Blaming Virginia for guns ending up in DC is kind of like blaming spoons for obesity. How about blaming CRIMINALS for taking guns in violation of the law into DC?

Last I heard, drugs are also illegal in DC, but that does not seem to stop the drug trade. Cocaine is not cultivated in Virginia, but it ends up in DC somehow, doesn't it?

Guns are even stolen within DC, even from the police, so I guess the answer is to ban ALL guns, despite the pesky Second Amendment.

I think DC should also start violating the Fourth Amendment - just search EVERYBODY in DC for drugs and guns and lock up all those criminals who are breaking the law over there. They can just set up checkpoints on the all of the bridges, and conduct sweeps of all of the DC neighborhoods. Problem solved!

Posted by: C.Fan | February 26, 2008 12:36 PM

Does this plainly stupid law forbid gun-toting restaurant patrons from consuming or being served alcohol while armed in public?

Gun-worshippers are indeed paranoid; they fear the facts and prefer anecdotes and hypotheticals. And rightly so, since statistics from CDC and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School indicate that out of about US gunshot deaths annually, only about 160 are cases of civilians legally defending themselves or others in actual crime situations.

The gun-worshippers' response to this proof of statistical insignificance? A-It's not insignificant if it's your life-wife-kid; B-If bad guys know you are heeled they go away and crime is prevented. In other words, forget the facts; we'd rather play cowboy and risk the lives of family and neighbors.

(Links to statistics at )

Posted by: Mike Licht | February 26, 2008 12:52 PM

Sorry -- figures are 40,000 gun deaths a year, 160 legal fatal shootings by civilians in actual crime situations.

Posted by: Mike Licht | February 26, 2008 12:55 PM

If Kaine vetoes this and the House votes to override him, I would love it, just love it, if someone would have the guts to shout this out from the gallery above: "YOU BACKWARD SOUTHERNERS!"

Let's have Loudoun, Prince William, Manassas, Manassas Park, Fairfax county and city, Falls Church, Arlington and Alexandria secede and form the state of North Virginia, and let those hicks in the rest of the commonwealth make do without our tax base.

Posted by: Vincent | February 26, 2008 1:00 PM

"My strong feeling," Kaine told the Virginian-Pilot, "has been that bars and Pizza Huts where families go to have pizza with their kids, that more weapons in those places does not lead to public safety."
-Lets think about that.... families goto church and college's where guns are not allowed. So with his thought no guns should equal a very safe place yet how many people have been shot at these locations in recent months..... just think about it. No guns does not mean safety it means good people will not be able to protect themselves if they will.

Posted by: bruins499 | February 26, 2008 1:03 PM

150,000 concealed permit holders in VA. I'd be willing to bet that fewer than one percent of them were involved in any gund related crimes.

States with right-to-carry laws have lower overall violent crime rates, compared to states without right-to-carry laws. In states whose laws respect the citizen's right-to-carry guns for self defense the total violent crime is 13% lower, homicide is 3% lower, robbery is 26% lower and aggravated assault is 7% lower. (Data: Crime in the United States 1996, FBI Uniform Crime Reports)

States with the largest increases in gun ownership also have the largest decreases in violent crime.

Posted by: brad | February 26, 2008 1:09 PM

Oh come on! Most states allow gun carry in restaurants - see

Posted by: Mike Stollenwerk | February 26, 2008 1:11 PM

It's good to know that people get their ideas of the law and history through a "Good Western". Makes you feel warm inside that Journalists are so well informed that their sources are Louis L'Amor and John Wayne. When I read the Washington Post, I always consider the source. Any good tips on what genre movies I should watch to understand freedom of the press?

Posted by: A Virginia Planter | February 26, 2008 1:13 PM

I'm not paranoid for thinking I could be a victim of a crime, you are in denial if you think nothing bad could ever happen to you. The police have no responsibility to protect you, the only person who does is you.

Posted by: Matt | February 26, 2008 1:27 PM

I live in Northern Virginia (Springfield) and I open carry in restaurants frequently since the law requires it. I am pleased that the legislature is finally moving in the right direction.

Posted by: Mack in Springfield | February 26, 2008 1:43 PM

Mike Licht, your statistics are meaningless. Unless, of course, that you were trying to prove that 160 people successfully defended themselves each year from criminals.

Posted by: Liz | February 26, 2008 1:56 PM

The second deadliest shooting massacre in the nation's history (after Tech) took place at Luby's Cafeteria in Killeen, Texas in 1991. Former Texas State Representative Suzanna Hupp left her gun in the car to comply with Texas state laws restricting concealed carrying, leaving her unable to defend herself or others. It may be just an anecdote, but not to the family members of the 23 people killed that day, or the 20 wounded patrons.

Posted by: Leesburger | February 26, 2008 2:00 PM

It is totally ridiculous that just to pick up take out in a restaurant that has wine, I have to lock up the gun or go open carry.

It makes no sense to leave the gun in the car where it can be stolen, especially considering that people driving drunk actually kill far more every day than concealed permit holders will kill in a year.

Apparently the gun free zone didn't seem to affect criminals who rob people, like down the street at Red White and Blue BBQ. Gun Free Zones are simply Disarmed Victim Zones.

Posted by: Skeptic | February 26, 2008 2:06 PM

What the author fails to mention about SB476 is that the person legally concealing their handgun in an establishment that serves alcohol is that they are not allowed to drink alcohol while in the establishment. There is no mixing of firearms and alcohol.

People that have a Concealed Handgun Permit are allowed to carry their concealed firearm all over Virginia. Why are we not allowed to do the same when eating at Famous Daves or Fuddruckers? As it is, I openly carry my firearm into these establishments and not once have I heard any negative comments about it. I would even say most people are oblivious of the fact.

To the folks that think gunowners are paranoid for wanting to be able to defend themselves if the threat arises, I pose this question to you. Do you have car insuarance? How about medical insuarance? The day I need either, I bet I'll be happy I did have it...

Posted by: PWC | February 26, 2008 2:10 PM

Liz: Meaningless? How so?

160 justified, legal gun fatalities by civilian shooters during actual (not imaginary) crimes out of 40,000 Americans killed by gunshot every year in our own country.
Statistical insignificance is meaningless?

The CDC figures are from death certificates, not fears and fantasies or commercial self-interest.

Sworn police officers carry pistols; they are trained in their use and know the law.

Nothing wrong with shooting sports, but handgun-toting vigilantes are a public health issue and a danger to the community, their families, and themselves.

Posted by: Mike Licht | February 26, 2008 2:13 PM

I live in a state that allows those with permits to carry to do so concealed in a restaurant or bar. I do so every time I go out to eat.

I have had a permit for 8 years. There have been 0 permit holders use a lawfully carried gun in an unlawful way in a bar or restaurant.

Posted by: Guy | February 26, 2008 2:24 PM

"Nothing wrong with shooting sports, but handgun-toting vigilantes are a public health issue and a danger to the community, their families, and themselves."

You're conclusion is fallacious. What is the percentage of the 40,000 deaths caused by "handgun-toting vigilantes" (concealed carry permit holders) using their weapons for homicides? I would guess that it's also statistically insignificant, making your argument moot. Reducing the statistical inference to lay language, shall-issue concealed-carry laws have zero effect on the number of gun deaths that occur, but have a dramatic effect on the amount of crime that occurs in states that have shall-issue concealed-carry permit requirements.

If you want to reduce the 40,000 deaths, you would be much wiser to work towards increased education to families about safe gun handling, proper gun storage, and proper hunting behavior than to go after changes to laws dealing with concealed-carry holders.

Posted by: Leesburger | February 26, 2008 2:59 PM

Senator Cuccinelli recently attended the Nations Gun Show at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly. There were 1000 vendors, a vendor being anyone selling anything at a booth at the gun show. Six of them were can be categorized as "unlicensed" gun dealers - defined as private citizens who sell less than 25 personally owned firearms per year. These people are not required to perform background checks on private sales, no different than selling from their car or house. Of the six, three of them were selling handguns. Of the three selling hand guns, only one had a "modern" semi-automatic handgun that wouldn't require a background check, and would be considered an "easy purchase".

Gee, I can see why criminals would want to travel all the way to Chantilly, to pay an entrance fee, to find a single gun to buy that doesn't require a background check they can use in a crime. Oh yeah, the good Senator videotaped the entire thing. So ask him about it. Before spouting off how easy it is to get a gun at a gun show, make sure you do your research. Now it's been documented.

Posted by: bohdi | February 26, 2008 3:09 PM

Mr. Fisher doesn't realize that it is perfectly LEGAL to wear a pistol into a restraunt in Virginia (open carry) and consume alcohol. This law, if it goes into effect would actually LIMIT permit holders by NOT allowing them to consume alcohol, something they can do now legally as long as they legally display their weapon.

What makes you feel better? A person openly displaying their pistol and drinking or a person carrying concealed and NOT drinking? As it is now, most persons that choose to opencarry or conceal carry legally do so responsibly and this law doesn't introduce anything remotely as terrifying as what you are alluding to.

Persons that have gone thru all the work to obtain a permit follow the law. What you have to worry about it not the permit holders that conceal, but lawbreakers that won't respect the law or a posted sign.

Posted by: Marv | February 26, 2008 3:14 PM

William at 8:56 AM said:

"I trust my fellow Virginians who have concealed carry permits not to drink when packing."

Do you also trust your fellow Virginians who have driving permits not to drink when driving?

Posted by: scooter964 | February 26, 2008 4:03 PM

Vincent: I live in Loudoun. I've got a family, a BS, a MBA and used to live in Philly. I drive an Audi too. I own several handguns and have a CHP. I think VA is great, too. It's freedom and respect of the Constitution that I love the most. Oh, btw, I haven't had a moving violation in over 18 years and have never been arrested. You've probably bumped into me when getting a latte and I just smiled at you and kept going. You probably tapped my holstered handgun and didn't even know it.

Posted by: Rico | February 26, 2008 4:10 PM

And of the 140,000 CHP holders in VA, how many have committed a gun crime?

Posted by: Rico | February 26, 2008 4:11 PM

Leesburger: Guess all you want to. Here are CDC figures from 1993 death certificates, not guesses: more gunshot fatalities (39,000) than vehicle-related deaths (37,000).

Of the 36,000 firearms fatalities where types of weapons were identified, 26,000 involved handguns.

Triple the fatality numbers to get the number of disabling injuries. The University of Pennsylvania Medical School has information on reducing this appalling toll. See

Posted by: Mike Licht | February 26, 2008 4:39 PM

Funny how the most combative and emotional posts here are the ones made by the anti gunners. I guess it is a good thing you all aren't carrying.

Posted by: Richie | February 26, 2008 4:49 PM

Of those "fatalities" how many were suicides? How many were "murders"? How many were justifiable homicides in "self defense"?

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2008 5:11 PM

Better to be tried by 12 than carried by 6 bubbas. If DC allowed open carry and CCW in 18mos its murder rate would be close to PWC. Yes initially it would be very bloody but you have to allow for that. If a a few lefty liberals perish like Marc or some other Birkenstock wearing supporters end 6ft under no great loss.
The gene pool is better off.

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2008 5:33 PM

Congress should require the Nationals to allow open carry at at all home games!

Posted by: Anonymous | February 26, 2008 5:34 PM

I'm not surprised this sort of fact-less material is written in the post anymore. Nice one sided spin.

Posted by: bohdi | February 26, 2008 5:48 PM

Fisher rarely misses a chance to fly his brady campaign flag.

The existing law requires anyone carrying a firearm into a bar to make certain the weapon is visible--a tradition that goes back to the 19th century and is evident in most any good Western. Guns on the bar, gentlemen...

Please, if we're going to go Hollywood...
"If you brought a weapon into Wyatt Earp's Dodge City KS or Tombstone AZ, you had to turn it in for the duration of your visit. If Earp saw you on the street with a weapon, he would walk up, engage you in polite conversation, then out of nowhere suddenly "buffalo" you with his own pistol
--that is, bring the barrel down hard on your head."

I was always partial to Roy Rogers myself. You didn't see ol' Roy saddle up to a bar and then hand over his six shooters. HELL no. Because not only was Roy a genuine grown up adult, he played on on TV too!

I think the OK corral post is cute! So cute, it's worth comparing to the "Wild DC shootouts" we have now. In fact, if you go to DC now, Chief Lanier's goons will walk right up to you, engage you in rude conversation and then do nothing because it would interfere with the drug trade in DC. Funny how the police state supporters love to trot out "dodge city" and "wild west shootouts" in defense of their position. Ironically, more shootings take place in a couple of years in DC than in all of wild west history!

BTW Marc, more than a little dishonest of you to leave out the part about being illegal to drink in the proposed law.

Posted by: Not surprised | February 26, 2008 6:07 PM

I live in Alexandria and proudly exercise my concealed handgun rights.

Those of you reading Marc's fascist rant and the Brady-crowd-type comments above who do not live in NOVA, please be aware that there are THOUSANDS of us here that do not drink the same liberal water.

Marc's juvenile (and uninformed) comments are designed to outrage and mislead. Unfortunately, that is what Marc is paid to do.

The real issue here that is not being discussed is the current case before the U.S. Supreme Court. If the argument of the left-wing anti-gun nut jobs (like Marc) are adopted, then our country will be fundamentally changed and the meaning of the 2nd Amendment will be eliminated. Indeed, future Virginia Democrats will be free to impose the same type of idiotic restrictions on gun rights as those proposed and enforced upon the District's (and countless other jurisdictions) law-abiding residents.

However, if the District's handgun ban is struck down (as it should be), the same type of concealed weapon permit laws that exist in Virginia and other states will likely be adopted in the District.

At that point, the question will NOT be, "Wow, look at how crazy Virginia's gun laws are." Rather, the question will be, "What took us so long to make our gun laws like Virginia."

Most left-wing anti-gun nut jobs (like Marc) have never handled a gun, and thus they are deathly afraid of them because they view them as evil pieces of metal, wood, and/or plastic that can only be safely handled by the Police/Military.

I hereby beg of you Marc to work on overcoming your feeble-minded (and irrational) fear of handguns - hey, maybe pretty soon we can do so over a beer at lunch?

Posted by: Aaron Burr | February 26, 2008 6:15 PM

Arlington Tiki:

"If this bill passes I will only go to restaurants and bars in DC or MD from now on. I don't need to be shot by somebody who thought booze and concealed weapons are a good idea."

Uh, Maryland already allows its concealed handgun permit holders to carry in restaurants that serve alcohol. So you will have go to DC.

However, technically a person with a DC concealed handgun permit (yes, they can issue them) can also carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Same all the way north to Canada. Closest state that bans restaurant carry is North Carolina.

Posted by: VCDL President | February 26, 2008 6:18 PM

Thanks Leesburger, that was the point I was getting at, but Mike Licht was either ignoring it or is just dense. Spouting numbers is meaningless; you need to compare it to something. All you did there Mike was tell me that 160 people escaped being killed/raped/robbed.

Mike Licht, you need to concentrate on the percentage of those 44k deaths that were caused by guns that were illegally owned. I've said it before and I'll say it again; guns that are owned legally aren't the problem.

Posted by: Liz | February 26, 2008 6:25 PM

You're welcome to take issue with Virginia's concealed carry law, but this is a change in the law that makes it more sensible, not less. The current law says you're free to go into any business with that concealed weapon UNLESS they're serving alcohol there. All this does is say that you can go in there now so long as you don't consume any of that alcohol yourself.

If you think that there should be no concealed carry, fine, but let's be honest about it rather than do a pile-on over this change.

Posted by: Don | February 26, 2008 6:27 PM

I don't get it -- if a woman has her concealed gun in her purse or on a bellyband, then how much personal protection can it be for her? If she's afraid of a stalker or ex or something, shouldn't the gun be holstered where she can get at it? That kind of insanity is why I'm against the pro-gun nutters: if you really think about the risks they perceive (usually exaggerated) to their actual ability to use these magic weapons, the pro-gun lobby are mainly delusional.

Posted by: Alexandria | February 27, 2008 7:28 AM

Dear Alexandria:

The only delusional ones in the debate over guns are prohibitionist, puritantical, and government loving Marxists like you and Marc Fisher. Based on the stupidity of your comments, I am confident that you have never even handled a gun, or removed it from anything.

The stupidity of your comments in particular remind me of one of my favorite Abe Lincoln quotes:

"Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt."

Posted by: Aaron Burr | February 27, 2008 9:37 AM

Mike Licht, you need to compare apples to apples. We aren't talking about handguns in general, we are talking about concealed carry permit rules and regulations. So, I will ask you again -- how many of those 44,000 deaths were directly linked to concealed carry permit holders either by accident, homicide, or self-defense? If you don't have that statistic, be honest and say you don't know. There are lots of handgun fatalities, but that really has nothing to do with concealed-carry permit regulations. It's an orthoganal topic that is not germaine to the topic at hand which is rules for concealed-carry permit holders in restaurants serving alcohol.

There are many handgun fatalities caused by illegal handguns (particularly in gang-related violence) and accidents caused by improper storage and unsafe gun handling. These would be best prevented by stronger enforcement of current laws for the former, and increased education on safe gun practices for the latter. Changes to concealed-carry permit-holder regulations will have ZERO effect on that number because these are people who KNOW how to safely carry and store handguns and have only used a weapon as a last resort to protect life and limb. Statistics impart no knowledge without a reasonable understanding of what they mean, and a well-reasoned argument based on logic to use them effectively. I won't argue the validity of the CDC statistics, but I will contend that your interpretation of the statistics and your argument in general are fallacious.

Posted by: Leesburger | February 27, 2008 10:31 AM

What's really funny is that Springfield, VA wouldn't even notice if I walked by him!

Even funnier: Movie theater in Sterling, VA. I was sitting near the door waiting for a friend. I see a man openly carrying a gun in a black holster (it very, very obvious since he had khaki pants on and a white shirt). I quickly looked around at the people milling about. There were no looks of concern, no shouts, no pointing...nothing!

So, to those of you who think gun owners are paranoid: come off it. You're vulnerable and don't like the idea that someone else chooses otherwise. Furthermore, you're abdicating your responsibilities to yourself, family, and community.

You live in a FREE society and one of those liberties is the right to self-defense with current weapons. Those of you who argue FOR gun control are arguing for LESS liberty. Why would you want to make this country LESS free?

Posted by: cREbralFIX | February 27, 2008 9:34 PM

Re: Mike Licht's post that ...statistics from CDC and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School indicate that out of about US gunshot deaths annually, only about 160 are cases of civilians legally defending themselves or others in actual crime situations."

CDC will not capture the estimated
2,500,000 (TWO MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND) defensive uses of firearms per YEAR since most times when an attacker is suddenly looking down the barrel of the "victim", the attacker will rapidly withdraw.

Let me paint you a picture.

"Victim" is alone in parking garage and is approached by a large man with a knife (we'll call him "the Attacker") who screams, give me your money! Attacker is now within ten feet of "Victim."

"Victim" reaches into purse or back pocket while saying please don't hurt me, I'm giving you all of my money, and instead of a wallet produces from concealment a 9mm subcompact semi-auto pistol with a ten-shot magazine.

If the Attacker has any sense, he will run like hell out of there.

Using the "21-foot" rule, I submit that the "Victim" is well within her rights to shoot the "Attacker".

But in this case, I will say the Attacker flees with no shots fired. The Victim should immediately call 911 to report the suspect and her actions and also leave the area in case the Attacker tries to make up a story that he was attacked by the victim.

It happens very often, but CDC will not track such a life-saving incident since they are tracking deaths, not lives saved by guns. It also is not reported in the press very often either.

But if you want to read about defensive uses of gun, google Homeowner Shoots in the Google News section.

This suspected burglar would make the death by gunshot report.

The son, who was armed with a concealed handgun, went to check it out. He discovered a man in the shed, and the two got into a struggle. The son then shot the suspect, according to police.

The suspect was rushed to Methodist Central Hospital where he was later pronounced dead.

Family members say the area has seen a lot of burglaries lately, and the son often drives by to check on the condition of their elderly and disabled father.

The son has a concealed handgun permit, police said.

# # #

I will bet that the CHP holder will not be prosecuted for any crime since it sounds like a self-defense situation.

Posted by: C. Fan | February 28, 2008 4:47 AM

To the couple of people who responded to my post re gun control in the West: My sources for this are not from movies. You can read any number of historically accurate books on Western history and discover the facts about law enforcement and carrying weapons in towns such as Dodge, Tombstone and Abilene. You might start with a book called "And Die in the West," specifically about events that led up to the OK Corral Gunfight. The author is Paula Mitchell Marks. It's in the library. Or you can buy it, if you ever buy books.

And for the poster who cited Roy Rogers as a real cowboy. Uh...I don't know if you can take this...but his real name was Leonard Slye, he was from Ohio and he began his career singing with the Sons of the Pioneers. He became a Western star when Republic pictures was looking for an alternative to Gene Autry, who was also a singer and not, in fact, an actual cowboy.

You all may confuse entertainment and history. I don't.

Posted by: Jack | February 28, 2008 8:47 AM

"You all may confuse entertainment and history. I don't."

Well, you do, a bit.

See, when Earp confiscated your weapon, he was explicitly taking responsibility for your safety and well-being. The belief (and it is a correct one) is that the individual is responsible for their own safety and protection. The police are responsible for enforcing the law. When Earp decided to remove the ability of an individual to ably protect himself, he was expected to do so himself.

I do not see the state owning the responsibility for my personal safety. Perhaps once we get tired of paying the family members of people killed because the state failed to live up to its responsibility we'll decide that the Founders weren't complete idiots.

Posted by: Jimmie | February 28, 2008 9:20 AM

Jimmie: That's an excellent post and I see the logic of your argument. But one could claim that the Clantons, in Tombstone, felt that as they were "responsible for their own safety and protection" they had to carry weapons, given their many enemies among the population. (They made their living rustling cattle, primarily.)

And I often wonder about the Founding Fathers argument. They lived in a world of single-shot firearms that were cumbersome to load, slow to reload and often, in fact, failed to fire.

If Jefferson and Madison had known that, within 80 years of ratification, the Henry rifle and Colt revolver would be invented and many young combat veterans of the Civil War would be wandering the West, rootless and skilled in the use of arms, the Constitution might have turned out very differently. That's all speculation, but I wonder.

Posted by: Jack | February 28, 2008 10:34 AM

"Or as a restaurateur put it: "Why would somebody want to have a gun in a restaurant?" Mike Standing, of Waterman's Surfside Grille in Virginia Beach, told the Virginian-Pilot. "In case the crab legs came alive and got angry?"

Has he not noticed the string of shootings going on in all kinds of public places? Seems like a good enough reason to me. Also, the bill makes it illegal to drink while you are carrying, and Virginia does not have bars. I don't know what the standards are at the Post, but when I was in school we were required to do a little research before reporting on a subject.

Posted by: Justin | February 28, 2008 10:33 PM

Any business that is "Gun-Free" will not get my business. "Gun-Free" translates to "Criminal-Safe". They mean the same thing. So, if you do not support the rights to legally bear arms, then you must support the criminals.

Posted by: Catpoop | February 28, 2008 10:54 PM

The idea beind the second amendment was the right to bear arms, and a well-kept militia. The forefathers had intended our government to get to big and out of control, and gave us, the people, the means to take it back. Though, through efforts of the anti-gun folk, we can now do nothing against our huge, corrupt government. Thank you gun haters!

Posted by: Catp00p | February 28, 2008 10:58 PM

Liberals' mantra: In Government we trust.

Well guess what.

It is a "fundamental principle of American law that a government and its agents are under no general duty to provide public services, such as police protection, to any individual citizen."

Warren v. District of Columbia, 444 A.2d 1 (D.C. Ct. of Ap., 1981).

Posted by: Knows Better | February 29, 2008 6:44 AM

"And I often wonder about the Founding Fathers argument. They lived in a world of single-shot firearms that were cumbersome to load, slow to reload and often, in fact, failed to fire."

Taking this train of thought further, we can impart that logic on the 1st amendment as well. I doubt the Founders could have grasped the concept of the Internet while they were drafting the Bill of Rights, so the 1st Amendment actually should not protect what is said/written on the Internet. Please stop responding to this "article" before the men in black helicopters swoop in and send you to undisclosed re-education camps. The same could be said of radio broadcasts, telivision, as well as newspapers. I don't have definitive numbers, but let's say that Newspapers could circulate 500 copies in the Ben Franklin era. Do you really think they could have imagined that print presses today can put out copies in thousands?(Sarcasm off...)

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