Virginia’s bars and restaurants did not turn into shooting galleries as some had feared during the first year of a new law that allows patrons with permits to carry concealed guns into alcohol-serving businesses, a Richmond Times-Dispatch analysis found. The number of major crimes involving firearms at bars and restaurants statewide declined 5.2 percent from July 1, 2010, to June 30, 2011, compared with the year before the law went into effect.
Overall, the crimes that occurred during the law’s first year were relatively minor, and few incidents appeared to involve gun owners with concealed-carry permits. A total of 145 reported crimes with guns occurred in bars and restaurants in fiscal 2010-11, eight fewer than the 153 incidents in fiscal 2009-10. “The numbers basically just confirm what we’ve said would happen,” said Philip Van Cleave of the pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League, which lobbied for the making Virginia one of 43 states to allow concealed guns in restaurants that serve alcohol. State Sen. A. Donald McEachin, an opponent of the law, said, “I don’t think it takes a rocket scientist to figure out that just like drinking and driving doesn’t mix, guns and drinking don’t mix.”