Our Governor’s Hypocrisy (Updated)

As expected, Governor Kaine has vetoed SB1035, which would lift the ban on concealed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol.

Remember, CHP holders are some of the most peaceable and law-abiding citizens there are. We voluntarily undergo training and an extensive background check to obtain a CHP. We voluntarily submit information on our homes to the state, and agree to keep that information up to date. Where such statistics are tracked, CHP holders have a much lower rate of committing crimes than the general population, and a crime rate that is even lower than that of the police. Yet the mere fact that we would carry concealed in a restaurant that serves alcohol, even while being prohibited from actually consuming alcohol, somehow puts the public “at risk.”

But open carry in restaurants that serve alcohol is allowed in Virginia. How is requiring me to expose my firearm when I go into these restaurants better? Keep in mind that, in Virginia, there are no “bars.” There are only restaurants “for which a license to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption has been granted by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board.”

Many “bars” are open during the day in order to meet their required percentage of food sales, and function primarily as restaurants during that time. Many restaurants have an ABC license just so they can serve someone a beer or some wine with their dinner. Virginia law makes no distinction between the two. It is quite often difficult to know if a restaurant has an ABC license until you sit down and realize that there are drinks listed on the menu.

Just as an example, there is a little BBQ restaurant in downtown Blacksburg. You order your food at the counter, and wait until they call your name to pick it up, and you sit at a picnic table inside (that’s right, they don’t have real seating, just a couple of picnic tables). Would you expect a place like that to have a license to serve alcohol? (Of course you do, since I’m using it as an example. But would you if I wasn’t?) Yet walk in while you’re carrying concealed, and it’s a class 1 misdemeanor. And remember, “ignorance is no excuse.” Is this the second restaurant you’ve done this at? Now it’s a felony, and you can never (legally) own a gun again.

But where’s the hypocrisy? Well, in his veto, he makes this comment:

“Allowing concealed weapons into restaurants and bars that serve alcohol puts the public, the employees, and our public safety officers at risk.”

He dares to say this, laying the danger on “concealed weapons” and not the people carrying them, yet last year he signed a bill allowing Commonwealth’s Attorneys and Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorneys to carry concealed, without needing a permit, without requiring any training and exempting them from the restaurant ban.

You see, in Governor Kaine’s mind, Commonwealth’s Attorneys are special. It’s not really the weapons he has a problem with (regardless of what he says), it’s weapons in the hands of ordinary citizens that he has a problem with.

Tyranny is as tyranny does.

Update:

There’s a good discussion going on about this over at SayUncle’s. Sailorcurt has pointed out to me that the law allowing Commonwealth’s Attorneys to carry in restaurants allows them to drink while carrying concealed (as long as they aren’t “intoxicated,” which is only vaguely and subjectively defined in Virginia law – Sec. 4.1-100 contains the only definition I could find.) SB1035 would have explicitly prohibited CHP holders from consuming any alcohol. Yet another example of how Governor Kaine believes his “Only Ones” are better than the rest of us.

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