Editorial: Gun plus booze equals stupor
Why should some people get to have guns and drink and others not?
This whole guns and bars thing is getting rather confusing.
Say you wanted to go out tonight and slam back a few. You are perfectly free to do so, provided you're old enough, of course. You can go alone and drink. Or you can tote along your friend, just as long as he's out in the open and everyone knows you're drinking and armed. Virginia law is A-OK with that. Your bartender might not be, but that's his problem. You can just take your money where you and Smith & Wesson are welcome.
Now, say you just happen to be a cop or a commonwealth's attorney with a permit to carry concealed. Why, then, you can tuck your friend in your waistband or ankle holster, plop down on your favorite stool and hoist a few. Perfectly legal. Not very bright, but legal.
Now, say you aren't one of those elite, but you don't like to go advertising that your friend is keeping you company. What's a good, law-abiding citizen like you to do but wait? Come July 1, you too can carry concealed in places where alcohol is sold. Only you can't drink it. At least not legally.
That's not fair, says Philip Van Cleave, leader of the Virginia Citizens Defense League.
Well, don't go falling off your bar stool, but we agree.
Van Cleave worked so hard to get this law passed, and a year ago he would have been fine with it. He said as much in a commentary right here on our pages.
But that was before his friend became governor. Now he wants a redo: Either everyone gets to carry concealed and drink or no one gets to carry concealed and drink.
Better, we think, no one should get to drink and carry. Open or concealed. Period.
But don't just listen to us. As some of our letter writers like to remind us, we aren't gun experts. So let's check with the experts, the big guns, the authoritative source -- the National Rifle Association:
"Never use alcohol or over-the-counter, prescription or other drugs before or while shooting. Alcohol, as well as any other substance likely to impair normal mental or physical bodily functions, must not be used before or while handling or shooting guns."
A sober warning worth heeding.