Cool the smoldering fear-mongering on guns
By Philip Van Cleave | Van Cleave is the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League in Midlothian
In Dan Casey's opinion column "Get ready for guns in bars" (June 21), there were some key points I would like to set straight:
Unlike what Casey wrote, under Virginia law gun owners currently may openly carry into a restaurant and drink if they wish. But they are not allowed to get drunk. Truth is, that while it is legal, gun owners are simply not interested in drinking and carrying a gun.
The bill that passed the General Assembly this year would have allowed for concealed handgun permit holders to be able to carry concealed as long as they didn't drink. Gun owners were fine with that. They simply want to be able to carry discreetly in restaurants and enjoy a meal.
The people you should be worried about, violent criminals, already carry in restaurants concealed. Unlike permit holders, they don't care that it's illegal.
So it is not about carrying concealed in bars and drinking, as Casey says, (Virginia doesn't have actual bars, by the way -- they are always part of an eating establishment) it is about carrying concealed and eating in restaurants that happen to serve alcoholic beverages.
While Casey enjoys fear-mongering about "smoldering wisps that emerge from hot pistol barrels after some permit-holding, gun-hiding patrons get into a face-off," he fails to point out that currently those same gun owners can legally carry concealed at special events where alcohol is served and have been doing so for decades. All without problems.
Such imaginary face-offs with permit holders have been used shamelessly for a long time now by those who hate guns. When Virginia started issuing permits on a "shall issue" basis in 1995, people like Casey were screaming about the danger of shoot-outs in grocery stores after two carts collide in the aisle.
Those dire warnings all turned out to be nothing more than active imaginations working way over time. But 14 years later, here we go again.
Finally, I wonder where Casey was when another bill passed the General Assembly last year and was signed into law by Gov. Tim Kaine that allows off-duty commonwealth's attorneys to carry concealed and drink in restaurants? I didn't hear a word from him or The Roanoke Times bemoaning that one.
I have no problem with commonwealth's attorneys or permit holders carrying concealed and having a drink with their meal. They are all good people who have a proven track record of being law-abiding citizens. Let's not paint any of them as something they are not in order to push for more pointless gun control.