As the gaggle of gun enthusiasts with their assorted handguns sitting openly on their hips dined on hamburgers and chicken tenders at the Fuddruckers restaurant in Annandale, Victor Castellon's eyes grew wide with concern.Victor would likely poop and fall back in it if he knew how many others were carrying concealed handguns illegally, every day, everywhere he went.
"I've got to be careful with these guys because they've got guns," he said, sitting at a nearby table with his girlfriend. "It's like the old West."
Castellon was observing members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, an organization that believes gun owners have the right to carry their guns anywhere — including restaurants like Fuddruckers that serve alcohol.
Under Virginia law, carrying a concealed firearm in a bar or restaurant where alcohol is served is illegal, even if the gun owner has a permit to carry a concealed weapon. But anyone may "open carry" handguns in those establishments, just so long as the gun is visible.
I'm not sure what gets my interest most about this. It could be that there are enough people who carry open in Virginia to merit media attention. It could be that Virginia has legislators who say things like:
"My constituents don't want to walk into a restaurant that serves alcohol and see people carrying guns," said Sen. Janet Howell (D-32), the bill's sponsor. "I've had dozens of e-mails from people who are both angry and frightened about open carrying."It could be that Virginia wastes time and effort trying to infringe the rights of law-abiding citizens, instead of worrying about actual criminals.
I know how Virginia can fix the problem: pass a CHL law, then let the sheep go back to grazing.