New proposed bill would ban concealed carry in bars, restaurants

Concealed Carry

The bill was pre-filed by newly elected Virginia Senator Saddam Salim.

VIRGINIA, USA — A new bill is being proposed that would ban concealed carry inside any bars and restaurants in Virginia.

Senate Bill 57 was pre-filed by Virginia Senator-elect Saddam Salim, late last week. He says it was a big concern that several restaurant owners brought to his attention while he was campaigning.

“When you go into a restaurant, you don’t worry about the fact that the chef is going to poison your food. You go to an establishment that provides quality food. It’s the same thing. They should be able to provide space where you and your family feel comfortable without worrying who’s carrying a concealed weapon,” said Salim.

The bill will make carrying a concealed handgun into any restaurant or club that has a license to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption, that was granted by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority, a Class 2 misdemeanor.

Active and qualified retired law-enforcement officers, would still be allowed. 

“Last thing I want to worry is that an incident takes place and somebody pulls out a gun. Specifically to this bill, it’s places of alcohol. That’s something we’ve seen. Places with alcohol and guns don’t mix,” said Salim.

The current law already prohibits concealed carry permit holders, from consuming alcohol inside a bar or restaurant while carrying.

“You’re introducing this bill that only goes after the most law abiding citizens, and telling them that they can’t be trusted in a restaurant,” said Philip Van Cleave.

He’s the President of the Virginia Citizens Defense League.

“It disarms honest law abiding people that have done everything the state has asked of them. There’s no reason. They can’t point to a bunch of problems in restaurants with permit holders carrying,” said Van Cleave.

He told WUSA9 they are already planning to protest this and other proposed gun control bills in Richmond on Lobby Day on Jan. 15.

Senator Adam Ebbins, the co-chair of the General Assembly Gun Violence Prevention Caucus says he also plans to propose another bill sometime next week. It would make carrying assault style weapons in public, illegal. 

It’s a response he says, to what unfolded at a farmers market in Alexandria in 2019.

“We had a situation in Alexandria where people brought assault style weapons to a farmers market. Because they were not loaded they were legal to have in Alexandria at the time. They’re frightening and have a chilling effect whether loaded or not and can cause panic,” said Ebbins.

But Van Cleave says these bills focus on the wrong issue.

“If he’s trying to stop actual crime he should be focusing on getting criminals locked away until they’re not dangerous. We keep dangerous animals behind bars in the zoo we should do the same thing with dangerous people,” he said.

This is only the beginning. The bills will begin being introduced on Jan. 10. 

Senator-elect Salim says he does expect the bill to pass and eventually land on Governor Glenn Youngkin’s desk.

The Republican governor has said he is a gun owner and lifetime member of the NRA, who understands what it means to protect our right to keep and bear arms.

In a statement to WUSA9 Monday night, Governor Youngkin spokesman Christian Martinez wrote the following:

The governor will review any legislation when it comes to his desk.

Salim says there’s a good chance the governor would veto this bill.

“His best interest is not supposed to be self interest. If he chooses to veto it we’re gonna put not only him but also his colleagues on record indicating that they are not here to protect citizens against gun violence,” said Salim.

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