Efforts to change state law to allow gun permit holders to bring weapons into places where alcohol is served, which may or may not succeed this year, have at least incorporated one small bit of sanity: a provision that an individual carrying a weapon can't consume any hooch whilst packing. But if we do get a compromise bill that passes legal muster, will Pistol Nation be satisfied with sipping Diet Coke? Or is the right to be armed in a bar just the first step?
Over in Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell just signed a bill into law allowing concealed weapons in restaurants serving alcohol, and their bill, like those proposed here, says the gun-toter can't imbibe. But Virginia's gun nuts aren't stopping there. Philip Van Cleave, who heads the Virginia Citizens Defense League, is irked that police officers and prosecutors are allowed to drink alcohol while carrying a concealed weapon. Says Van Cleave, "We're not allowed to drink, but they can. That's two classes of citizens." He's encouraging pro-gun lawmakers in Virginia's state house to introduce a bill that would let anyone carry a gun and drink "as long as they are not drunk."
The VCDL is quite the aggressive gun-happy interest group: it regards being armed as "a fundamental human right," favors concealed carry on K-12 school property, and maintains a Gun Dealer Legal Defense Fund. Next up: drinking while packing. Are Tennessee's Second Amendment crusaders similarly inclined?