The News & Advancewrote:
Published: March 5, 2009
Some of the provisions that have been proposed or added to the measure that would allow people to bring legally concealed weapons into restaurants and bars are as ludicrous as the bill itself.
Although the General Assembly approved such a bill last year, Gov. Timothy M. Kaine vetoed it. He has said he will veto this year’s version. He should.
Why? Simply because guns and alcohol don’t mix. Allowing guns — even legally concealed weapons — into bars seems to be asking for trouble. It could lead the state back to the frontier days when arguments that began in bars were settled outside on a dusty street — with guns.
Approval of the bill allowing concealed handguns in restaurants and bars was clearly not the 2009 session’s finest hour.
As for the governor’s view of the measure sponsored by state Sen. Emmett Hanger Jr., R-Augusta, Kaine told his monthly radio call-in show last week, “I’m very nervous about the public-safety impact of that bill.”
The bill that passed would restrict those with concealed weapons from drinking. That’s fine. But why else would that patron of the bar be there? To discuss the finer points of carrying a concealed weapon with his buddies who are having a cocktail or two?
Another provision in the bill added to the absurdity of the legislation. It would have required the person who carries a concealed handgun to notify the establishment’s manager that he is packing heat. Can you imagine the person carrying a concealed weapon sidling up to the manager and whispering, “Hey, I need to tell you I am carrying a concealed weapon. Just thought you’d like to know.”
The House of Delegates thought that was fairly silly, too, and removed the provision.
But, in a bow to the spirit of free enterprise, the measure does allow bars and restaurants to ban guns inside their establishments if they want to. They can do that by posting signs saying “no guns allowed” or something to that effect.
That provision rivals one that was proposed several years ago that would have allowed folks carrying concealed weapons to check them at the door of the bar. Can’t you imagine a section of the cloakroom filled with handguns checked by customers? That provision did not pass.
Kaine has veto-proof margins in both the House and the Senate, meaning the measure was passed by less than the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.
That’s good. It could hardly be much of an inconvenience for those carrying concealed weapons to leave the weapon in the glove box of their vehicle before entering a bar or restaurant. Really, it’s no trouble. Certainly not compared with the trouble that could result if the weapon were pulled and fired in the bar — or on the street outside.