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Reaction: Toby Keith's 'No Guns' Problem in Woodbridge

Patch readers weigh in: "Automobiles and alcohol don't mix. Neither do guns and alcohol."

Toby Keith's restaurant doesn't allow guns. (Patch photo by Greg Hambrick.)
Toby Keith's restaurant doesn't allow guns. (Patch photo by Greg Hambrick.)
There's nothing like a good ole' fight over guns and drinking to fire up the populace — and the social media spectrum.

That was made clear recently by the fury unleashed by the "NO GUNS PERMITTED" sign posted on the door of the newly opened Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill in Woodbridge.

The restaurant isn't the only one facing these concerns in Northern Virginia. Buffalo Wild Wings in Manassas sparked controversy when off-duty police officers were refused service last spring because they were armed. 

And a Leesburg restaurant owner recently launched a new organization in support of businesses that welcome customers carrying a firearm.

The no-guns policy at Not Your Bar and Grill was quickly targeted on the Toby Keith restaurant's Facebook page. And when Patch followed with a story about the reaction, the debate continued in comments readers posted to our site.

There were pro-gun comments like this one: "The reason people carry guns in public places is that those are often the places that violence finds them. A friend mugged in the parking lot of his local grocery store - gave the guy the money and the jerk weed shot him anyway. I have saved my own life by merely voicing the threat of a gun."

There were those who oppose the Virginia law that allows people to carry guns in public: "It should NEVER be legal to carry a gun or any other kind of killing weapon into a public place, license to carry or not."

And Keith himself was the target of both praise — "glad to see someone with the guts to stand up for what is right" — and blame —"boycote his recordings and greasy spoon."

This type of community engagement is what Patch is for. So please tell us what you think! Keep posting your comments below to further the public debate.

There were too many interpretations of the Second Amendment to count. And there were several who noted the policy was likely rooted in shielding the restaurant from liability, as this reader put it: "Ya think maybe kinda it coulda been the lawyers? Their job is to protect the business, not make friends."

There were several who characterized the situation as a freedom of choice issue: "It's the beauty of a free country. If you don't like the policy, don't go to the restaurant."

Or as another reader said, "The issue is about choices, the choices of some to legally own a gun, the choice of others to own and operate a 'gun free' business, and the choice both can make to just stay away from each other. The hate and bigotry this issue has spawning over the last few days is breathtaking — and, make me very thankful people can't bring guns into the Worldwide Web with them!"

But for many commenters, both for and against allowing the open carrying of weapons, the issue was about the combination or firearms and alcohol:

As one reader put it: "Automobiles and alcohol don't mix...Neither do guns and alcohol...If you drink don't drive...If you carry don't drink!...I'm all for no guns in bars...If alcohol is served in restuarants then guns should also not be allowed in these establishments either...Restuarants who do not serve alcohol should allow patrons to carry concealed or openly!"

Another agreed: "Any logical gun owner knows that booze and guns don't mix. Here in Phoenix AZ, a very gun friendly state, there are many places that have a 'No guns allowed' and nobody seems to take issue with that."

And despite the current political context of the issue, one reader noted that issue has been around since the Wild West days depicted on Gunsmoke: "Didn't Miss Kitty have people check their guns at the door to the Longbranch?"

What do you think? Let us know in the comments below.

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