While some businesses, such as Starbucks, have no policy on whether you can carry guns inside, the restaurant chain Buffalo Wild Wings does have a policy: No guns. And when a group of eight plain-clothed Prince William County police officers wearing guns sat down last month at the new BWW in Manassas, near Wellington Road and Market Street, a waitress there refused to serve them.
Jamie Rogers broke this story in the Manassas Patch, and reports that the restaurant’s manager tried to make amends the next day with the Prince William police. “There is no reason why those officers should have been asked to leave,” manager Scott Lupton wrote in a letter. “Police officers are always welcome in my establishment and even though we do have a no-gun policy, as a company that excludes off-duty police officers.” Lupton told Rogers he would try to personally apologize to the officers, and he later told Fox News the officers were not asked to leave. I was unable to reach Lupton Monday.
(UPDATE, 11:30 am: The officers were on duty, though in plain clothes, Prince William police Officer Jonathan Perok said, and were not in violation of the restaurant’s policy because there is an exemption for police. Lupton said he had been instructed not to discuss the incident. Waiting for a call back from the BWW HQ.)
Buffalo Wild Wings launched this policy in 2009, and regularly issues the following statement when asked about it: “Buffalo Wild Wings respects the right of individuals to carry firearms. However, because we are focused on the comfort, safety and enjoyment of all of our guests, we have elected to exercise our right to restrict the carrying of firearms within our restaurants. We regret any inconvenience this may cause but believe that this policy is in the best interest of all our guests and our Team Members.”
Openly carrying weapons in Virginia is legal, though private establishments may make their own rules. Carrying a concealed weapon requires a permit. In 2010, Virginia legalized the previously prohibited practice of carrying a concealed weapon in a restaurant or bar, so long as the person does not drink alcohol (and the restaurant allows it). Concealed or open carry, though, Buffalo Wild Wings still says no to average citizens. What do you say?
(Unrelated side note: Today marks the two-year anniversary of the birth of The State of NoVa. Thanks for your patronage.)