The wife and I were out and about doing some shoe shopping this afternoon and I open carried (OC) my holstered handgun with no problems at all in the local Super Shoes where I've OCed on occasion before with no problems of any sort. Once the wife decided on a pair of shoes and she paid for them and we discussed what to do next.
Bowling is what we both agreed on so we headed over to the AMF Bowling Lanes off of Candler's Mountain Rd nearby. I double checked my voice recorder and we headed inside. After a thorough checking of the signs on and around the doors we saw nothing to indicate that good folks shouldn't dare to protect themselves upon entering so we headed on in and made our way to the check-in counter. When the girl at the counter looked up from the task she was working she greeted us nicely and rang us up for 3 games a piece and a pair of bowling shoes a piece. While we waited in line I saw some of the staff walk through behind me but no one said a word. After signing the credit card slip as we prepared to walk away one of the guys on staff came up to me and asked if I was a cop. Of course I told him no and asked why? I was told that they serve alcohol and I couldn't have my gun in there. I said something to the effect of "so, that's perfectly legal", but he replied that I couldn't have it with me so I told him that we'd just leave once we got our refund.
The staff member walked away and said something to what appeared to be a manager and the wife and I turned to get our refund and leave. About that time I asked the wife to go get the staff member to tell him to come give us our refund since he didn't want our business, because I didn't want to wait for the long line that had built up by then. The staff member came back, relieved the girl who had just rang us up and instructed her to refund our money. She looked puzzled and I told her that we had been told that we weren't welcome. I further said that the wife and I both keep sidearms for our personal protection and we had been told they were not allowed so we would just take our business elsewhere. The young lady was very apologetic and seemed to be surprised that such a request would even be made of us. She refunded our money quickly and we thanked her and left.
Upon returning to the car I made sure I saved the recording of the conversation we'd just had inside and we headed over to the other bowling alley in town (Bowling Center) on Fort Avenue. The wife and I looked the place over before going in, saw no signs telling us to disarm and then went in and spent the next hour or so enjoying each others company while spending only 75% of the money that was expected at the AMF Lanes that were dark, crowded and very interested in hocking their beer. The wife even decided to OC her little raspberry Ruger LCP during the outing. When we wrapped up, as I was in the restroom one of the guys on a bowling team a couple lanes down asked the wife about her gun as he seemed quite surprised to see her carrying a real gun and she shared some info with him about the state's carry laws. Afterward we both left with no problem at all and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly.
From the bowling alley we both proceeded to OC at Kohl's, Dick's Sporting Goods and then at Olive Garden where we had no issues at all with our holstered handguns as is the norm.
Next week I plan to follow up with the AMF Lanes general manager or contact the corporate office in Richmond to find out if AMF Lanes really is an enemy to those moms, dads, and other Regular Joes that carry sidearms for the safety of themselves and their families. I'm hoping to find out that this incident is outside of the acceptable norms for AMF Lanes and that they welcome law abiding citizens who like to have fun and value their safety.
Great job on keeping calm and courteous during this situation. The employee that told you that you couldn't carry your firearm because of the alcohol served probably is using that excuse because he couldn't furnish you with a correct company mandated answer. I could respect someone if they plainly stated "We do not allow firearms." If that is so, then that is their right. But its also my right to take my funds elsewhere to offer patronage.
VirginiaOpenCarry.Org (Coins, Shirts and Patches)
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For VA Open Carry Cards send a S.A.2S.E. to: Ed's OC cards, Box 16143, Wash DC 20041-6143 (they are free but some folks enclose a couple bucks too)
I have a stack of them both on my desk here at work and at home, but had none with me at the time. Even the wifester who normally has a few in the purse had none because she'd handed them out when we've been out and about. She went looking for them after the friendly discussion with the bowling team member at the other bowling alley and found she had none. I'm putting a couple of them in my wallet right now.
Last edited by jmelvin; 11-22-2010 at 07:56 AM.
Last edited by jmelvin; 11-22-2010 at 07:56 AM.
Good job! Make sure the receipt from the friendly bowling ally finds its way into the envelope if you send a letter to the AMF alley, along with one of Eds OC cards.
I have been digging through old postings in an attempt to create a 'phonebook' of OC Friendly/OC UN-Friendly locations in the Lynchburg (City)/Amherst/Bedford/Campbell county area. I have it in MS-Word right now, but I was thinking of something that could be downloaded into a smartphone and used as an index when traveling about.
I'm not too keen on spending money in establishments who don't welcome my presence, with my civil rights intact.
I'm typing from my Blackberry now but I'll publish a list later. For now the anti places are already listed on the website above. I'd call AMF questionable for now until we get things straight with the corporate office.
Add another FRIEND to the list:
Montebello General Store (aka: Montebello Camping & Fishing)
15072 Crabtree Falls Highway
Montebello, VA (Nelson County, on Hwy 56)
Wife and I were out running the Blue Ridge Parkway today from home up to Big Spy Mountain overlook. Stopped at Montebello General Store for a couple of cups of hot tea to cut the chill.
No issues OC'ing. Not even a second look!
These are the folks with the stocked trout pond (fee fishing) and campground. Been going here since I moved to Virginia in '98. First time OC'ing.
Figured this might be out last outing on the Parkway until spring if we get any snow.
Awesome views if you get the chance.
I just got around to sending out a comment to AMF Lanes corporate office in Mechanicsville, VA. I botched the date that we bowled (it was 11/20 and I think I said 11/25), but the date is something I can correct if they give me the chance. Here's what I wrote:
My wife and I were out and about shopping the afternoon of Saturday, November 25 when we decided to go have some fun bowling a few games at the nearby AMF Lynchburg Lanes here in Lynchburg, VA. We arrived, headed inside and bought 3 games apiece and rented shoes. As I was putting away my receipt at the attendant’s desk one of the Lane’s staff members approached me and told me that I was not permitted to bowl at this bowling alley with my holstered sidearm that I carry for the protection of myself and my wife, because the bowling alley served alcohol. I attempted to correct the staff member, telling him that Virginia law has no such restriction on carrying sidearms where alcohol is served just like most other states, but he reiterated that we were not welcome while I kept my means of protection and stated that I could take my sidearm to the car if I wanted to bowl there.
Having made the determination long ago to avoid places that want to take my money, while rendering me or my family defenseless I asked for a refund. The staff member walked away to talk with what appeared to be a manager and I was left at the desk to wait for a long line that had followed me in. Knowing that my wife and I were no longer welcome because we both carry sidearms for protection, I asked my wife to retrieve the staff member to give me my refund so that we could leave in peace. The staff member came back to the desk and I was provided with a refund so we could leave. Needless to say this visit to AMF Lanes was the low point of our otherwise enjoyable day.
Still wanting to bowl we headed to the other bowling alley here in town that also sells alcohol where we were welcomed warmly and paid only a fraction of what was charged at the AMF Lanes. We happily bowled our games, enjoyed ourselves thoroughly and were glad to be treated as welcome guests as we are at the many other places we shop at, dine in and hang out.
It is my hope that the treatment that I received at the AMF Lanes here in Lynchburg, VA is not considered acceptable normal business practice. It is further my hope that AMF does not make a regular practice of disarming moms and dad, grandparents and Regular Joes who just want to have a good time with their families and friends while keeping their tools to ensure their personal safety. If AMF regularly prevents its customers from providing for their own protection, AMF assumes a very large duty to protect these customers against all harms posed to them by third parties while on AMF property. This is a huge liability that AMF does not need to take on and it is my hope that AMF policies welcome peaceable families and friends who wish to bowl while taking precautions for their own protection.
My wife and I would gladly return to AMF Lynchburg Lanes if we are assured that we are welcome there just as we were at the other local bowling alley. If it is AMF policy to take away customers ability to protect themselves, please let me know and I will happily take my money elsewhere and let my friends and family know that they too are not welcome at AMF Lanes. Please feel free to write or call me if you have any questions or comments.
Last edited by CenTex; 12-06-2010 at 06:08 PM.
The words of a tyrant: “I never entertain opposing opinions. I am always right.”
Socialism is just another dirty word for totalitarianism.
"Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined." -Patrick Henry
In the one or two I have written I like to mention that I have respect for places like starbucks that simply follow state law when it comes to firearms and self defense.
One of our problems (which OCDO and VCDL correctly are trying to remedy) is that people assume that if you have a gun you are either a LEO or a bad guy. We need to continue to condition people to seeing good people carrying. When good people carry bad guys become meek. :-)
In the final seconds of your life, just before your killer is about to dispatch you to that great eternal darkness, what would you rather have in your hand? A cell phone or a gun?
Si vis pacem, para bellum.
I just received an e-mail from AMF stating that because my satisfaction with their hospitality and facilities is of utmost importance they have forwarded my concern on for consideration by their management team. I realize that this is the standard mumbo-jumbo you receive when you send comments to some corporate headquarters, but it means that my comments have at least been read.
I got a call about 2 hours ago from Cathy Seeger (I believe I got her last name correct) who is the AMF Regional Manager for AMF Lynchburg Lanes. She was apologetic for the inconvenience that I experienced at the AMF Lanes, she said that she had spoken with the AMF legal team regarding their policy on firearms. The AMF policy, which has been in effect since December, 2005 is to prohibit firearms from being carried by both employees and customers in all cases. I asked if AMF made any exception for off-duty police who came in as customers and she confirmed that off-duty police get no special consideration and would be asked to leave or disarm just the same as anyone else who was discovered carrying a firearm. Ms. Seeger (sp?) was polite in her conversation, but needless to say I am disappointed by the result of the conversation.
This confirms that it is AMF corporate policy to leave both their customers and their employees of all sorts disarmed in a place where many people might consider taking their families and loved ones and wish to keep them safe. It reveals that we have another company that wants our money without leaving us a means of protection. Let your dollars do the talking and take your bowling elsewhere.
Why not take a moment to let AMF know what you think?
I let them know my money will be spent at a 2A friendly alley.
Now the trick is to find one.
Thanks for writing!
AMF does not want the business of gun carriers folks. Their regional manager said as much to me by sharing their policy mentioned above. Why not let them know you'll drop them from consideration when you go to bowl?
Here's the link to make it easy!
Done I don't need them.