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Champps - Guns in Restaurants Draw Stares but Little Outcry
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Champps - Guns in Restaurants Draw Stares but Little Outcry - May 14, 2008, 02:55 PM

Guns in Restaurants Draw Stares but Little Outcry

By Matthew Barakat, Associated Press
CNSNews.com
May 14, 2008

Reston, Va. (AP) - The patrons at Champps, an upscale 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 their 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.

The diners returned to their burgers and Budweisers.

The Virginia Citizens Defense League organized the gathering at
Champps to prove a point: that the presence of armed customers in northern Virginia
restaurants would elicit little more than shrugs.

The Champps appearance -- and several other restaurant visits throughout
northern Virginia last month -- were a response to comments from the
majority leader in the state Senate, Democrat Richard Saslaw, who said
armed patrons would be unwelcome in northern Virginia restaurants.

"In most urban areas, you walk into a restaurant with a gun on your hip,
they're going to tell you to get out," Saslaw said.

In fact, with a few exceptions, the gun owners got their meals. The
group went to eight different restaurants in April -- including the
Fuddruckers burger chain and the McLean Family Restaurant -- and more often than not
their presence failed to generate a stir. At two eateries, they were
asked to leave.

All the restaurants were in Fairfax County, a bastion of suburbia and
soccer moms outside Washington that is the wealthiest county in America,
according to the most recent Census data.

"This is an area with a large population of government agents -- FBI,
CIA, local," said Champps' manager, Carey Vereen. "In terms of people
seeing open carry, it's not a shock to our customers."

It is also a place where nerves over the gun debate are still somewhat
raw a year after the shootings at Virginia Tech, where 32 people were slain,
including many from northern Virginia.

Gun owners in Virginia are allowed to carry firearms in bars and
restaurants that serve alcohol, as long as the restaurant permits it and they carry
their weapon openly. Legislation to allow concealed weapons in
restaurants serving alcohol passed the General Assembly this year, but was vetoed by
Gov. Timothy M. Kaine.

Virginia is one of two states, along with Montana, that demands any
arms be openly carried in restaurants that serve alcohol, according to the Web
site
opencarry.org, which promotes and monitors gun owners' rights. Eleven
states ban guns altogether in restaurants that serve alcohol, while the rest
make no distinction between open and concealed carry.

At Champps, several patrons failed to notice that so many customers were
armed, even though dozens of gun-toting men and women had walked right
past them.

Tomas Nolasco said he hadn't noticed the guns and didn't care as long as
they weren't drinking, which they weren't. His wife was a little more
concerned.

"There are families in here, children in here," Cathy Nolasco said. "It
bothers me."

Dave Vann, a retired D.C. police officer and VCDL member who organized
the restaurant visits, said the gun owners' presence make the restaurant
more safe, not less.

Many of the men who carry weapons said people frequently just assume
they're police or retired police.

At one restaurant -- Mike's American Grill -- the group had gone
essentially unnoticed until a woman in her 20s with a satin-finished, stainless-
steel revolver got up from her table.

The restaurant's manager spotted her and asked the group to either put
the guns in their cars or leave. They left.

"When I saw the gun on her hip, I was like, 'What is going on here?'"
said the manager, Gabba Kaye, who hadn't noticed the guns when the group of
20 checked in for their lunch reservation.

Kaye said he hadn't received complaints from customers, but that the
weapons made him uncomfortable. He also said he had been warned by the
restaurant's owners about the visit and instructed not to allow the group service
while carrying.

Saslaw said he's not necessarily surprised that VCDL found restaurants
in the region that would allow them to dine while armed. But he said that
carrying guns is simply not normal behavior in this area.

"What normal person walks around with a gun on your hip? Something's
wrong in your life" if you feel compelled to carry a gun as part of your daily
routine, he said.



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May 14, 2008, 02:58 PM

Hey Johnny, you can go to Chammps!


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May 14, 2008, 03:04 PM

Good read. Do you pack a gat Dean? Watch yo back cause' u might get jacked!


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May 14, 2008, 03:16 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by DUC999

"What normal person walks around with a gun on your hip? Something's
wrong in your life" if you feel compelled to carry a gun as part of your daily
routine, he said.

What is his definition of normal? Maybe to some its not normal to not carry a gun or to effectively live by your rights as an American citizen. maybe something is wrong in his life that he feels that he doesnt need to carry.

But than again most people say im not normal but I also feel the same way about them.





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May 14, 2008, 03:35 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nubbs
What is his definition of normal? Maybe to some its not normal to not carry a gun or to effectively live by your rights as an American citizen. maybe something is wrong in his life that he feels that he doesnt need to carry.

But than again most people say im not normal but I also feel the same way about them.
I'm sure he has security around in him when he is in public...and im about 99% sure they are strapped.


I read this article on the VCDL email earlier last week.
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May 14, 2008, 03:45 PM

I was under the impression that you could not carry into a place that serves alcohol or is that just concealed carry?


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May 14, 2008, 04:03 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnnySpeed954
I was under the impression that you could not carry into a place that serves alcohol or is that just concealed carry?
I think it applies to CCW only..


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May 14, 2008, 04:33 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by gixxernoob
I think it applies to CCW only..
Affirmative.

Although there is a gray area surrounding this. Often times you will be told or asked to leave. The main problem is that many people are not familiar with the law (open carry is legal everywhere in VA unless specifically prohibited. e.g. schools, malls, etc). So when they see guns they freak and assume the carriers are violating the law. There have been a few high profile cases within the last couple years of carriers being wrongfully detained/harassed by police, usually due to complaints by ignorant citizens.
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May 14, 2008, 05:42 PM

guns and alcohol does not mix, it is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt



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May 14, 2008, 05:50 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by h100rr
guns and alcohol does not mix, it is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt
Cars and motorcycles don't mix; it is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.


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May 14, 2008, 05:54 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Musikkant
Cars and motorcycles don't mix; it is only a matter of time before someone gets hurt.
LOL,
Still I think this is a bad idea for VA. You have over zealous cops and citizens carry guns who seem to have to make an anouncement they are carrying is very scary to me. Just carry the old fashion way in your car or under your shirt if you feel the need.



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example - May 14, 2008, 06:32 PM

we had a scenerio like this in montgomery county, myself and 2 officers where at wing stop on shady grove rd, we were wearing weapons but concealed, while eating 2 men came in and sat without ordering, a fight brokeout outside and we started to head over to break it up. the two men who came in went out first. both men pulled the people off each other but when they did we noticed handguns one was holstered and the other looked like it was just in his waistband, later we found out it was a inside holster. anyway we drew down and stated police, one guy reached for his gun and actually pulled out his gun but was tackled. the other put his hands up.
i almost shot him. he had a permit to carry we found out later, we asked him why he pulled his gun, he stated he didnt hear us say police, the other guy did hear us.
so, i almost shot him and he was going to shoot me, was this situation avoidable?
its way too dangerous to carry concealed these days, and if anyone has ever been through what ive been thrrough they would say the same. once someone pulls a gun on you and threatens to shoot you, you really think about these things in a different perspective.
I'd like to hear some of the members remarks on this one.
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May 14, 2008, 06:34 PM

if you live in the DC area...more people have guns on them than you think.
they don't have to make an announcement about it, its not bragging, it was a demonstration in return to a political statement. Most people won't tell you they have a gun on them outta the blue.

saying its only a matter of time... well guys citizens have been carrying since before america started i'm not a fan of concealed but i don't mind open carry


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May 14, 2008, 06:58 PM

Personally, I'm more open to concealed carry than open carry - I honestly just don't feel like seeing a whole bunch of people with guns when I'm at a restaurant. Just my preference.

I certainly don't ever want to feel like I'm living in Africa. No offense.



ps - not starting a debate, don't have time at the moment to stir anyone's .



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May 14, 2008, 06:59 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by lawdog6153
we had a scenerio like this in montgomery county, myself and 2 officers where at wing stop on shady grove rd, we were wearing weapons but concealed, while eating 2 men came in and sat without ordering, a fight brokeout outside and we started to head over to break it up. the two men who came in went out first. both men pulled the people off each other but when they did we noticed handguns one was holstered and the other looked like it was just in his waistband, later we found out it was a inside holster. anyway we drew down and stated police, one guy reached for his gun and actually pulled out his gun but was tackled. the other put his hands up.
i almost shot him. he had a permit to carry we found out later, we asked him why he pulled his gun, he stated he didnt hear us say police, the other guy did hear us.
so, i almost shot him and he was going to shoot me, was this situation avoidable?
its way too dangerous to carry concealed these days, and if anyone has ever been through what ive been thrrough they would say the same. once someone pulls a gun on you and threatens to shoot you, you really think about these things in a different perspective.
I'd like to hear some of the members remarks on this one.
If I were to get a CCW, or carry in the car, or anywhere else, it would be because the police cannot be everywhere to protect me or my family. Since we cannot expect police to be everywhere, I understand people who carry.

If something happened, and police were indeed right there, I would of course defer to them to break up a fight or otherwise protect what needs to be protected. One of these guys did exactly that, but the other didn't. He says that he just did not hear you state you were police. In short, the problem was not that those two guys were carrying, but that one of them did not hear the "Police" announcement clearly.

I don't know whether the guy did not hear the announcement because he was focused on the task at hand, which was to break up the fight, or because you guys did not say "Police" loudly or clearly enough. Either way, that was an unfortunate situation. However, if I were being beaten up, or shot at, or robbed, I would prefer that one or both of those guys, who tried their best to resolve the situation without even drawing weapons, were around to provide protection. Sounds to me like they acted appropriately in that situation.


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Last edited by Musikkant; May 14, 2008 at 07:01 PM..
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