Guns in Bars Bill Passes State Senate

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A little while ago, the Virginia State Senate passed SB 334, which "Allows a person with a concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun onto the premises of a restaurant or club and prohibits such person from consuming alcoholic beverages while on the premises." The vote was 22-18 [UPDATE: Democrats voting for this bill were Deeds, Edwards, Petersen, and Reynolds]. My thoughts on this bill largely agree with the restaurant owners cited in this article.

*"Jason Brauns, who owns Top of the Stairs on College Avenue, is a concealed carry permit holder, but does not want concealed weapons in his establishment. 'In a nutshell, I have a concealed weapons permit,' Brauns said. 'I believe in gun rights and being able to carry guns, but I don’t believe that in bars or anywhere alcohol is involved is the place for them.'"

*"Robert Hodges, who owns Bud Foster’s Restaurant, said the legislation would put restaurant owners in an uncomfortable situation...'As an owner and operator of a restaurant that does serve alcohol, yeah I have some concerns and some safety issues with the legislation,' Hodges said. 'The fact that someone can walk in here with a concealed weapon just because they have a permit, get intoxicated, and if there is an altercation pull a gun and discharge it in my establishment concerns me greatly.'"

So...if restaurant owners, including at least one who's a concealed carry permit holder, don't want this bill, who does exactly?

P.S. For more on the Virginia General Assembly's moves towards relaxing gun laws in the Commonwealth, see this morning's Washington Post story on the subject.

UPDATE: Adam Rhew tweets, "BREAKING: The House of Delegates has just voted 61-37 to repeal Virginia's one handgun per month law."

UPDATE #2: I found a poll from Tennessee that found 80 percent of state residents oppose allowing permit holders to carry handguns in bars. I see no reason why the results would be significantly different in Virginia.

UPDATE #3: Actually, I just found a Virginia poll on this issue. Conducted last October by Christopher Newport University, the poll found just 26% of Virginians favor allowing concealed weapons permit-holders to carry weapons into restaurants that serve alcohol. The rest either disapproved (68%) or didn't know (5%).