The patrons at the Reston, Va., location of Champps, a restaurant and bar chain, were eating ribs and drinking beer on a recent Saturday when customer Bruce Jackson stood up and made an announcement. He was armed, and so were dozens of other patrons. The armed customers stood up in unison, showing off holstered pistols and revolvers. Jackson said a word or two about the rights of gun owners to carry firearms in Virginia, then thanked everyone for their attention and sat down. And the diners returned to their burgers and Budweisers.
The Virginia Citizens Defense League organized the dinner at Champps to prove a point: that the presence of armed customers in Northern Virginia restaurants would elicit little more than shrugs. The dinner — and several other restaurant visits throughout Northern Virginia last month — were a response to comments from the majority leader in the state Senate, who said during a legislative debate that armed patrons would be unwelcome in Northern Virginia restaurants, reports the Associated Press. In fact, with a few exceptions, the gun owners got their meals. The group went to eight restaurants in April — at two of them, they were asked to leave. More often than not, though, their presence failed to generate a stir.