A new Toby Keith restaurant in Woodbridge, Virginia has angered customers with a window sign that states “NO GUNS PERMITTED.”
In gun-friendly Virginia, it’s legal to carry registered firearms into restaurants that serve alcohol (but you may not consume any alcohol if you choose to do so). However, Virginia state law also allows bar and restaurant owners to ban weapons from the premises, as long as they prominently display a “gun-free” sign in the establishment.
Almost immediately, the self-described “over-the-top country” restaurant began receiving major backlash over its no-guns policy after its grand opening, prompting the owners to respond in a Facebook post.
“While we understand and respect every person’s right to own and bear arms we at Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill, with guidance from the State of Virginia and based on insurance regulations, have adopted a no weapons policy,” the owners wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook page. “It is our desire to provided a safe, enjoyable and entertaining experience for our patrons and staff.”
The commenters on the Woodbridge location’s Facebook page are still decidedly split. Some thank the establishment (and Toby Keith) for the “common-sense” sign, while others say they will never eat somewhere that “doesn’t agree with our right to bear arms.” Said one angry reviewer: “Robbers will love this restaurant, the perfect place to jack. Should put a sign up out front that says nobody here protects themselves, everybody is unarmed.”
And though most of the comments are directed at Keith — who has previously performed at rallies sponsored by the National Rifle Association and has spoken in support of gun rights — the decision was ultimately made by the direct owners of the establishment and not the famous country singer who helped found the franchise.
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