Concealed handguns; prohibits person from carrying into a restaurant. (HB1544)

Introduced By

Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock) with support from co-patrons Del. Clay Athey (R-Front Royal), Del. Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg), and Sen. Bill Carrico (R-Grayson)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Concealed handguns; restaurants. Prohibits a person who carries a concealed handgun onto the premises of a restaurant or club from consuming an alcoholic beverage while on the premises. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/18/2008Presented and ordered printed 089858516
01/18/2008Referred to Committee on General Laws
01/29/2008Referred from General Laws
01/29/2008Referred to Committee on Militia, Police and Public Safety
02/12/2008Left in Militia, Police and Public Safety

Duplicate Bills

The following bills are identical to this one: SB476.


Jeff Nelson writes:

The existing law prevents concealed guns in bars. The proposed legislation allows a person with a concealed gun to be in a bar as long as he does not consume alcohol in the bar. The legislation does not appear to prevent a guy with a gun to buy a drink in the bar, drink it outside and return to the bar.

David Ham writes:

This bill is really about restaurants. I already carry in restaurants, and I don't drink when I do. However, I must carry openly - that is, the firearm is not concealed. This means I need to take off my jacket before I enter and put it back on only after I leave. This is an inconvenience but not much of one. The real problem is that many women that I know that carry a firearm do so in such a way that they cannot un-conceal it easily (i.e., it is in their purse, in a belly band or concealed in some other way). For them to legally enter a restaurant that serves alcohol, they must leave the gun elsewhere - like in the car. This not only leaves a gun unprotected for a criminal - I know a person who left his gun in his car during a meal and came back to find it stolen - but it also leaves the woman unprotected as she walks to and from her vehicle. This bill is an enhancement to current law and should become law.

Amira Armond writes:

Basically seconding David Ham's comment. I am a female with a concealed carry permit. Because of the current law which prohibits any concealed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol (it is not about bars), I would have to carry openly or leave it home. Carrying openly in my opinion is a risk and I hate to do so. I am constantly worried that someone will actually be provoked to attack me FOR the gun. So I really hope that this bill is passed to repeal the ill-thought out ABC concealed carry law.

Carson writes:

Please urge your senators to support this bill. It is a great enhancement to the current rules.

C. Robert Dickerman writes:

This is crazy. Weapons and alcohol are a dangerous, dangerous mix..whether concealed or unconcealed...whether together in the restaurant or bar, or in the adjacent parking lot. Our communities are dangerous enough already without more of this "right to bear concealed weapons" nonsense. Oppose this bill.

Alisse writes:

This bill is not about restaurants. It is about establishments that sell alcohol. Alcohol and guns should not be mixed.The NRA agrees that alcohol and guns are a deadly mix. This bill is not in the interest of public safety. It should be defeated.

Amira Armond writes:

But if you read the bill, it actually makes drinking while carrying a handgun illegal, which support your point, Alisse?

The current law does not mention drinking at all, and it is legal to carry a gun into a licensed ABC restaurant as long as it is not concealed. So if you want to keep alcohol and guns separate, this is a good bill to support.

Dave Briggman writes:

Nelson, you can't buy a drink in a bar and go outside to drink it.


Bob Gibson writes:

The Hanger bill allowing concealed-carry permit holders to pack heat in restaurants if they don't drink passed Militia and Police today on a 16-5 vote.

Virginians are going back to debating that old issue of guns in bars again when the real measure of an urbane cowboy is whether he keeps urban chickens.

Stella, our youngest daughter who turned 16 today and visited the General Assembly on her birthday, keeps chickens here in Charlottesville.

Not roosters, mind you, as they can be a bit loud and inconsiderate, not to mention toe-biting, wing-flapping little attack critters.

Stella tends hens that give us fresh eggs, don’t bother anybody much and are just plain fun to watch.

For more on the issue of urban chickens, see:

For more on whether concealed-carry permit holders should be able to pack in bars, there’s always Sen. Emmett W. Hanger’s S.B. 476, which seems aimed straight at Gov. Tim Kaine’s desk. See Richmond Sunlight’s:

Personally, I’m for the urban chickens. They give us a little touch of country and a few good eggs.

Tom Gonzalez writes:

The ignorance of the general population about the design of this bill is truly astounding. People are complaining that alcohol and guns do not mix. True! What about alcohol and cars? Not many think that is as dangerous to the public at large as firearms, but how many people have been shot by someone LEGALLY PERMITTED TO CARRY A CONCEALED HANDGUN in or outside a restaurant, bank or school? Contrast that almost non-existant number to the number of people that have been killed by drunk drivers? The problem with society today is not the death itself, but the manner of that death. Death by a drunken automobile driver is an "acident" and yes, it is bad, but not TOO bad. Death by a firearm is really a much more terrible thing. People, dead is dead. How about protecting everyone by not allowing anyone with car keys on their person to drink in a restaurant or bar because they might hit or kill someone with their car if they get drunk.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

How about protecting everyone by not allowing anyone with car keys on their person to drink in a restaurant or bar because they might hit or kill someone with their car if they get drunk.

I think the metaphor you're looking for is let's not let anybody bring their car into a bar. And, on that point, I think you'd find broad agreement.