Virginia Debates Open Gun Display In Restaurants

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The four The Bungalow restaurants in northern Virginia will post signs saying, “The Bungalow, a Homeland Security model facility. No firearms, no WMDs, safe zone.” The Washington post reports that the small chain decided to ban gun-toting customers after a man with a firearm strapped to his hip sat down in one of its restaurants and ordered a margarita. The man asserted that Virginia law allows him to openly carry his weapon. A restaurant manager says, “People change when they have alcohol. I think people make too many bad judgments. I’ve had people who were perfectly wonderful snap.”

Virginia residents must have permits to carry concealed weapons, which are prohibited from establishments that serve alcohol — but guns openly displayed are permitted. Restaurant and other business owners have the right to ban customers carrying weapons — both openly carried and concealed — on their property, said Tom Lisk of the Virginia Hospitality & Travel Association. Establishments can either post a notice or approach customers directly, he said, and people who violate the notice can be prosecuted under a trespass statute. Many residents didn’t know they had the right to pack a pistol in public until the recent incidents came to light. Fairfax County, Va., police say residents have been spotted in the county with guns strapped to their hips three times in recent weeks.


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