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Thread: Famous Dave's in Tukwila

  1. #1
    Regular Member knight_308's Avatar
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    I took the family out to Famous Dave's for dinner on Friday. I was open carrying. I didn't really have a choice since I wasn't planning on going out and didn't have an overshirt or anything to conceal with other than a jacket (and it was in the 80s).

    We had just gotten our food, when, as seems to always be the case, my daughter had to go use the restroom. I finished up a rib, wiped my hands, and carried her into the restaurant, carefully avoiding the RCW 9.41.300(1)(d) area (ie. the bar area).

    We had to wait for the one stall to become available, so we were talking and hugging, doing the daddy-daughter thing. Several people cycled through, but I didn't pay them much mind and kept my eyes mostly trained on the stall - it was a small space.

    Finally we get in, daughter does her business, and as we're washing our hands an employee (I assumed the manager - he was wearing a button-down shirt) comes up and washes his hands in the sink next to us. He says, "I have to tell you that we don't allow firearms in the restaurant. It's posted."

    Me: "Huh, I didn't see any posting."

    Him: "It's up front by the bar, besides it's illegal here; we sell alcohol."

    Me: "Oh, I see. Well technically I'd only be *illegal* if I went into the area posted by the bar. Now, don't get me wrong, as a private property owner you can certainly ask me to leave and I'd be required to do so. It's just not *illegal* for me to have a gun in this part of the restaurant."

    Him: "I'll show you on the way up front."

    Me: "Can I at least finish my meal?"

    Him: "Can't you just lock it in the car?"

    Me: "Not really." I said this realizing that lots of people had seen me already. If I went to the car, locked it up, and came back, there's the risk of theft if someone was feeling opportunistic.

    So we headed up front, the question of whether I'd be able to eat my rapidly cooling meal weighing on my mind. I knew that I wasn't going to end up arrested or anything, but it's still a little tense during these things. When we get to the front, what do my wondering eyes see?

    Yeah, it's just the typical bar posting. The guy was speaking out of ignorance.

    Me: "So, can I get a copy of your business card or your manager's card so I can follow up on this? I'd really like to get things clarified."

    Him: "Hang on, I'll get him."

    Hmm, OK, so this guy isn't the manager, maybe we have a chance here. Besides, they _thought_ I was doing something illegal and didn't call the cops, so maybe they're cool, just ignorant of the law. My girl began pestering me to go back to the table, but she was good when I told her we needed to wait and talk to this man first.

    Jeff, the manager, comes out, and says, "So you had a question about the gun?"

    Me: "Yeah, I think there's some confusion. In a legal sense, I'm only barred from carrying in the are of the restaurant posted as being illegal for under-21s. Now, as I told the other gentleman, as a private property owner you can certainly tell me to get out, and I'll abide by that, but there's no *legal* reason for you to do so."

    Jeff: "Well it's posted over there."

    Me: "Well let's go take a look."

    We walk over to the POSTED signs and I show him RCW 9.41.300(1)(a). I think it was the first time he'd actually read the sign. It was like a lightbulb went on.

    Jeff: "Well, I'll need to talk to my area manager to see how he feels about it."

    Me: "That's all I could ask for. Am I OK to finish my meal?"

    Jeff: "Sure."

    Me: "Thank you for your time."

    About the time we were looking at the bar signs my eleven year old had come over and was freaking out a little bit. He doesn't really seem to do well in confrontation. It wasn't crying or anything, more just being hyper and mouthy. He knew enough to be quiet while I was having my adult conversation though.

    Back at the table, I was just reaching for my cooling meal, getting my daughter settled back in, and filling the wife in on what happened when we get approached again by a gentleman in his late-40s, or early-50s. Here we go again.

    Him: "Are you law enfocement?"

    Me (casting sideways glances at my chicken): "No."

    Him: "Do you have a permit to carry that?"

    Me: "Yes and no. You don't need a permit to open carry in Washington. Only if you carry it in a vehicle or concealed. The state constitution, I forget the cite, permits it." I fished out one of my OCDO business cards and found the cite, Article I, Section 24 of the Washington State Constitution.

    Him: "I'm federal law enforcement and I've never heard of that before. So this is a keep and bear arms thing."

    Wife (not quite following why he wouldn't know): "Federal law enforcement?"

    Him (whips out his badge. Looks authentic): "Homeland Security," he points to the sky, "in the air."

    I went on to briefly explain how while I'm something of a newcomer to the movement there's been a core of people who have been fighting to get the legality of OC recognized for the last few years, successfully. I explained how most local law enforcement was totally aware that we were OK. He responded that he was surprised to see it when I was in the bathroom, but that I clearly was familiar with carrying a gun (I guess I'm used to OCing now ). There were some other minor things discussed, but eventually he left, we finished our meal to the dirty looks of some of the other patrons, and left.

    All in all not a terrible encounter. More nerve-wracking than anything - I don't like getting put on the spot. Still, I knew the law, stood my ground within the law, and it worked out OK.

    Now, I need to follow up with a letter to the Famous Dave's management. Guess I better go surfing the archives to find some samples.

  2. #2
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    Let the AAR review begin. :-)

    Overall, very well handled on your part.

    The only thing worthy of discussion I see is this:

    Him: "Are you law enfocement?"
    Me (casting sideways glances at my chicken): "No."
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who will advocate that your opening reply to this question should always be, "Why do you ask?"

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    kparker wrote:
    Let the AAR review begin. :-)

    Overall, very well handled on your part.

    The only thing worthy of discussion I see is this:

    Him: "Are you law enfocement?"
    Me (casting sideways glances at my chicken): "No."
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who will advocate that your opening reply to this question should always be, "Why do you ask?"
    My new response to that is "Are you a journalist?" (or preacher, radio host, etc). If they look confused and say "no, why" it leaves a very open "Well, you're exercising your right to free speech by approaching me and talking (or, if they're wearing a political shirt, have a bumper sticker, etc, mention that instead), I figured that was only allowed in the Constitution for those whose profession deals with it."

    Hopefully that gives a bit more perspective to those who think "guns = cops or military only".
    "If we were to ever consider citizenship as the least bit matter of merit instead of birthright, imagine who should be selected as deserved representation of our democracy: someone who would risk their daily livelihood to cast an individually statistically insignificant vote, or those who wrap themselves in the flag against slightest slights." - agenthex

  4. #4
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    ^^ This is awesome. I'll have to use it sometime

  5. #5
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    What happens, then, when someone says, "Yes, I am."

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    I'd want a significant comp. on my meal. When I'm in a restaurant, I expect a perfect dining experience. Yours was not. You were accosted by staff and patron while minding your own business and doing nothing wrong, legally or morally.

    They're responsible for that.

  7. #7
    Regular Member FMCDH's Avatar
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    deanf wrote:
    I'd want a significant comp. on my meal. When I'm in a restaurant, I expect a perfect dining experience. Yours was not. You were accosted by staff and patron while minding your own business and doing nothing wrong, legally or morally.

    They're responsible for that.
    Ok, that's going a bit far with the whole "I have a right" issue, and that would have been overly confrontational given the situation the OP gave.

    Knight_308 didn't have-to have the conversation with either the employee or the "manager", but chose to for education of the public purposes, one of the primary reasons many of us OC in the first place knowing that people will approach us and ask questions or level their concerns.

    Now...Knight_308 would have been completely in his rights to simply tell them they were wrong and didn't want to discuss it any further, then they would have been well within their rights to say, ok, then your out of here. Then, he could have asked for compensation for being kicked out, and they could have told him to pound sand, and Knight could have at best sued if he really wanted it to go that far over a 50 (or so) dollar meal.... and on and on...

    Instead, he kept his head, used the situation to everyone's betterment, and had a nice meal with only slight interruption (according to the OPs own tone) and may have even found another establishment that will support the RTKBA based upon his mature actions and attitude.

    A restaurant is responsible ONLY for their own business and maintaining a certain standard to keep return business coming back. If this restaurant doesn't want Knights return business, then they have no responsibility toward him at all.

    Sounds like everyone involved was acting responsibly in this situation and it turned out much better than it could have. He kept the peace with the establishment and with his own family while furthering the view of the public to OC.

    +100 to Knight_308 for his choice to be a bigger man than his ego.

  8. #8
    Regular Member FMCDH's Avatar
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    kparker wrote:
    Let the AAR review begin. :-)

    Overall, very well handled on your part.

    The only thing worthy of discussion I see is this:

    Him: "Are you law enfocement?"
    Me (casting sideways glances at my chicken): "No."
    I'm sure I'm not the only one who will advocate that your opening reply to this question should always be, "Why do you ask?"
    I always like to look around real quick with a frantic expression and a smile and ask in a mock panic "Why, is someone committing a crime?!"

    It gets mixed responses, but most chuckle or laugh the others just hrumph and walk away.

    Keep calm, friendly and matter of fact in your attitude and responses and people have a tendency to listen. If you act like a nut and insist in a whiny voice your "not doing anything wrong"....well....if you act guilty, people will assume you are regardless of any empirical evidence you may give to the contrary later.

  9. #9
    Regular Member compmanio365's Avatar
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    Haha, next time someone asks if I'm a cop, I'm gonna have to use that.

  10. #10
    Regular Member just_a_car's Avatar
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    Big +1 to FMCDH's first reply.

    Also, there's nothing, nada, zilch to imply they should be placed on any sort of list that I upkeep here on the WA Forum. I made the "rules" pretty plain as to what qualifies.
    B.S. Chemistry UofWA '09
    KF7GEA

  11. #11
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    colt45ws wrote:
    What happens, then, when someone says, "Yes, I am."
    "Isn't it great that you're able to write freely, without fear that a critical article about the government won't land you in a retraining facility?"
    "If we were to ever consider citizenship as the least bit matter of merit instead of birthright, imagine who should be selected as deserved representation of our democracy: someone who would risk their daily livelihood to cast an individually statistically insignificant vote, or those who wrap themselves in the flag against slightest slights." - agenthex

  12. #12
    Regular Member knight_308's Avatar
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    deanf wrote:
    I'd want a significant comp. on my meal. When I'm in a restaurant, I expect a perfect dining experience. Yours was not. You were accosted by staff and patron while minding your own business and doing nothing wrong, legally or morally.

    They're responsible for that.
    Given that as things stand (I have an email and a snail mail letter on the way to them) they are at least still considering the issue, I didn't think making that much of a fuss would be productive to the bigger goals.

    Had I, on the other hand, been told that I could not finish my meal I would have grabbed my family, a piece of chicken, and left, without paying. In that case they wouldn't have held up their end of the deal (providing me a meal at an agreed-upon price).

  13. #13
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    Famous Dave's is based in Utah. If you go there, they double ID you, and if you ask why they feel necessary they always spout the whole, "Well we're based in Utah so we follow their state law with things to be compliant with corporate".

    As far as I remember, the Famous Dave's in Washington are actually franchised out by William Tell INC located in Salt Lake City, Utah.

    Last time I checked, Utah is one of the most OC friendly states so I'm sure you'll have no problem. So if you run into problems next time, just use that line that they use on us.

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