Asked to leave Sweetwater Tavern in Centreville VA
My wife wrote this letter to the CEO of the parent company and cced the President and the Operations Manager.
Dear Mr. Norton,
I hope this email finds you well.
This past Sunday night my husband and I dined, with 7 of our friends, at Sweetwater Tavern in Centreville VA.
We had all remarked that, while the service staff were all extremely cheerful and friendly, the service was extremely slow. However, this is not the reason I write you today. During our meal, my husband and I took a seat at your bar area to have a cigarette. This is where our evening turned sour and when we decided that we will no longer be bringing our business to Sweetwater Tavern.
My husband, is an American citizen who exercises his constitutional right to bear arms. He holds a Virginia Conceal Carry Permit and is a responsible gun owner. As it is his right to do so, my husband carries his gun with him at all times. According to Virginia state law, despite the fact that he is authorized to carry a concealed hand gun, he is required to open-carry in places where alcohol is sold. Sunday evening, in accordance with Virginia state law, he was openly carrying his gun in a holster at Sweetwater Tavern. After a few members of the kitchen staff took notice of the gun on his hip, word spread among the staff quickly. Within minutes, we were approached by the manager and asked to leave.
Before the manager asked us to leave, he asked my husband if he was a law enforcement officer. My husband is a Marine Sergeant with experience working with the Department of State, Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Defense. His training and experience with weapons and security is obviously extensive, vast and varied. There are many reasons my husband could have listed which would have, in the mind of your manager, justified his carrying openly. However my husband did not outline any of his vocational experience or training as it is irrelevant. My husband was openly
carrying in your restaurant because he is a law abiding citizen and is
completely within his right to do so. That reasoning was not enough for your manager. So we left immediately without protest.
While we certainly appreciate your right to turn away patrons at your own discretion, we're extremely disappointed in your policy and annoyed that you have not proudly posted your policy outside the establishment. Had you done so, we and well over 150,000 carriers would skip dining at "Great American Restaurants'" establishments and be saved the embarrassment and inconvenience of being
asked to leave.
It is worth pointing out the great irony in having a collection of restaurants with predominant themes of Americana and Wild West curio (guns mounted on the walls etc.) while being a brazen malefactor of the Second Amendment of the US Constitution.
I would like to suggest that you make your policy on guns more explicit. Notify customers of your policy before they choose to offer their patronage not after.
* We left without paying. They have a "no-guns" policy and we have a "we don't pay if we're told to leave" policy :)
** The 150,000+ carriers I'm referring to is only the number of CCW holders in the state of VA as of 2 months ago.