Virginia Restaurant Ban More Confusing Than Ever

This is a discussion on Virginia Restaurant Ban More Confusing Than Ever within the Open Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I was talking to a law enforcement officer who was working off duty at my synagogue's fundraising auction last Saturday (see my post "Got Made ...

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Thread: Virginia Restaurant Ban More Confusing Than Ever

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array jofrdo's Avatar
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    Virginia Restaurant Ban More Confusing Than Ever

    I was talking to a law enforcement officer who was working off duty at my synagogue's fundraising auction last Saturday (see my post "Got Made at Temple Auction" in this forum). I told him that I always open carry in restaurants that serve alcohol since Virginia law prohibits concealed carry there, even with a Concealed Handgun Permit. He said that that is only enforced in bars and that a lot of officers, him included, would see open carry in a family restaurant as creating a public disturbance.

    Man, we can't win. If we comply with the law as written and carry openly, we could be in trouble for disturbing the peace. If we ignore the law and conceal carry, we might find ourselves in an establishment that he defines as a bar and get cited for that. Virginia law does not define a bar separately from any other type of estalishment that sells alcohol for on premises consumption by the single drink so its anybody's guess as to what he or other officers would say is a bar.

    For me, I will comply with the written law and open carry. Tell that public disturbance junk to the judge, officer.

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    VIP Member Array TN_Mike's Avatar
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    Don't listen to him. And don't ask LEO's for advice or their opinions on the law. Ask 10 of them and you will get 10 different answers.

    If you are following the law, you are legal. If an over zealous LEO arrests you, then you need to sue the pants off that department for false arrest.

    If you don't already belong to VCDL then I suggest you join. They have a very solid record of defending people who have been arrested falsely in VA.
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    Very tough decision. I try to avoid establishments that serve alcohol because I like to carry concealed. In this area peoples perceptions are that you are doing something wrong if you open carry.

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    Member Array MeatPuppet's Avatar
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    I'll follow the law as well, some police may prefer concealed but I doubt that would hold up in court if some chain of events landed you there.

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    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by TN_Mike View Post
    Don't listen to him. And don't ask LEO's for advice or their opinions on the law. Ask 10 of them and you will get 10 different answers.

    If you are following the law, you are legal. If an over zealous LEO arrests you, then you need to sue the pants off that department for false arrest.

    If you don't already belong to VCDL then I suggest you join. They have a very solid record of defending people who have been arrested falsely in VA.
    Ditto, I was talking to one of the local LEOs here, he had no clue that OC was even legal at a restaurant, he thought it was no carry period. We had him and his wife over one night and I printed off the laws for him, edumekated him on carry at a place or religious worship as well.

    Don't worry about what most LEOs have to say, worry about what the prosecuting attorney thinks.

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    So what is it. You can't conceal if the restaurant sell alcohol ?. Applebees You would have to open carry. Wendys would be ok to conceal as they do not sell alcohol.

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    Member Array MeatPuppet's Avatar
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    Silly but true.

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    Ex Member Array MadMac's Avatar
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    Yup - in NC concealed is verboten in any place that sells alcohol for consumption on premises. So even if I wanted to eat at a place like Chili's, I'd have to disarm. My wife and I have a favorite restaurant that only has a beer and wine license, yet I can't carry in there.

    If you open carry, you can be drunk as a lord (note lower case "L" - it's an archaic British thang).

    In other words, someone else having beer or wine in a restaurant makes my activity illegal. Pretty senseless.

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    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by ccman View Post
    So what is it. You can't conceal if the restaurant sell alcohol ?. Applebees You would have to open carry. Wendys would be ok to conceal as they do not sell alcohol.
    That is correct in VA.

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    I'll continue to follow the law as written. If a LEO decides I'm creating a public disturbance he can explain to the judge why he arrested me for no valid or legal reason. Maybe I can get some of the money I pay the county in property taxes back!

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    Distinguished Member Array Anubis's Avatar
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    The Virginia Senate recently passed a bill similar to SB 476 vetoed in 2008, which allows concealed carry in alcohol-serving restaurants if the concealed carrier does not consume alcohol and notifies a restaurant employee that he is concealing!

    Va. Senate OKs guns in restaurants bill - wtop.com

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    Anibus.
    The Virginia Senate recently passed a bill similar to SB 476 vetoed in 2008, which allows concealed carry in alcohol-serving restaurants if the concealed carrier does not consume alcohol and notifies a restaurant employee that he is concealing!

    If You let the young serving know You were concealing a firearm, She might freak out.

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    Member Array user's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jofrdo View Post
    I was talking to a law enforcement officer .... He said that that is only enforced in bars and that a lot of officers, him included, would see open carry in a family restaurant as creating a public disturbance.
    ...
    For me, I will comply with the written law and open carry. Tell that public disturbance junk to the judge, officer.
    There is no law in Virginia called "creating a public disturbance". There's a few that require proof of having created a public disturbance as an element of the offense, such as public nuisance, disorderly conduct, and unlawful curse and abuse. But all of the crimes that require proof of a public disturbance require some active misconduct on the part of the defendant. That is to say, you have to actively and intentionally do something that amounts to a breach of the peace before any of those crimes could be considered to have been committed. Eating a meal while wearing a gun is not such an act. Pulling the gun out and waving it around could well be. As long as it remains untouched in a holster, it's not illegal.

    By the way, we don't have "bars" in Virginia, or "taverns", either. All restaurants selling mixed drinks have to have at least fifty-five percent of their revenue from sales of food.

    Quote Originally Posted by archer51 View Post
    I'll continue to follow the law as written. If a LEO decides I'm creating a public disturbance he can explain to the judge why he arrested me for no valid or legal reason. Maybe I can get some of the money I pay the county in property taxes back!
    Do call me if that happens.

    Virginia Legal Defense;
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    Nothing I say as "user" should be taken as either advertising for attorney services or legal advice. Legal questions should be presented to a competent attorney licensed to practice in the relevant state.

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    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    You can't be found quilty of doing something that's legal. Period. You could be the test case, as has occurred in several other states, but they've all won ..... and won the lawsuit for violating their civil rights. Depends upon whether you want to be the test, and want to retire early.

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    Senior Member Array Landric's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by user View Post
    There is no law in Virginia called "creating a public disturbance". There's a few that require proof of having created a public disturbance as an element of the offense, such as public nuisance, disorderly conduct, and unlawful curse and abuse. But all of the crimes that require proof of a public disturbance require some active misconduct on the part of the defendant. That is to say, you have to actively and intentionally do something that amounts to a breach of the peace before any of those crimes could be considered to have been committed. Eating a meal while wearing a gun is not such an act. Pulling the gun out and waving it around could well be. As long as it remains untouched in a holster, it's not illegal.

    By the way, we don't have "bars" in Virginia, or "taverns", either. All restaurants selling mixed drinks have to have at least fifty-five percent of their revenue from sales of food.



    Do call me if that happens.

    Virginia Legal Defense;
    Absolutely true. I worked as a LEO in Virginia for nearly ten years before my move back to NC. There is no such offense as "public disturbance". Carrying a holstered firearm in plain view doesn't meet the elements for either disorderly conduct or brandishing a firearm.

    Its legal to open carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol, plain and simple. If it disturbs someone that is a shame, but that doesn't make it illegal. It might result in the owner or manager of the establishment asking the open carrier to leave, and the open carrier would be required to do so (or face summons or arrest for trespass).

    Yes, Virginia law against concealed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol is silly, but it is there. North Carolina actually ended up with a similar situation in the statute. In NC its illegal to carry concealed in a bank, but not to carry openly. Go figure.
    -Landric

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