Sunday, March 29, 2009

Our Governor's Hypocrisy (Updated)

As expected, Governor Kaine has vetoed SB1035, which would lift the ban on concealed carry in restaurants that serve alcohol.

Remember, CHP holders are some of the most peaceable and law-abiding citizens there are. We voluntarily undergo training and an extensive background check to obtain a CHP. We voluntarily submit information on our homes to the state, and agree to keep that information up to date. Where such statistics are tracked, CHP holders have a much lower rate of committing crimes than the general population, and a crime rate that is even lower than that of the police. Yet the mere fact that we would carry concealed in a restaurant that serves alcohol, even while being prohibited from actually consuming alcohol, somehow puts the public "at risk."

But open carry in restaurants that serve alcohol is allowed in Virginia. How is requiring me to expose my firearm when I go into these restaurants better? Keep in mind that, in Virginia, there are no "bars." There are only restaurants "for which a license to sell and serve alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption has been granted by the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Board."

Many "bars" are open during the day in order to meet their required percentage of food sales, and function primarily as restaurants during that time. Many restaurants have an ABC license just so they can serve someone a beer or some wine with their dinner. Virginia law makes no distinction between the two. It is quite often difficult to know if a restaurant has an ABC license until you sit down and realize that there are drinks listed on the menu.

Just as an example, there is a little BBQ restaurant in downtown Blacksburg. You order your food at the counter, and wait until they call your name to pick it up, and you sit at a picnic table inside (that's right, they don't have real seating, just a couple of picnic tables). Would you expect a place like that to have a license to serve alcohol? (Of course you do, since I'm using it as an example. But would you if I wasn't?) Yet walk in while you're carrying concealed, and it's a class 1 misdemeanor. And remember, "ignorance is no excuse." Is this the second restaurant you've done this at? Now it's a felony, and you can never (legally) own a gun again.

But where's the hypocrisy? Well, in his veto, he makes this comment:

"Allowing concealed weapons into restaurants and bars that serve alcohol puts the public, the employees, and our public safety officers at risk."
He dares to say this, laying the danger on "concealed weapons" and not the people carrying them, yet last year he signed a bill allowing Commonwealth's Attorneys and Assistant Commonwealth's Attorneys to carry concealed, without needing a permit, without requiring any training and exempting them from the restaurant ban.

You see, in Governor Kaine's mind, Commonwealth's Attorneys are special. It's not really the weapons he has a problem with (regardless of what he says), it's weapons in the hands of ordinary citizens that he has a problem with.

Tyranny is as tyranny does.


There's a good discussion going on about this over at SayUncle's. Sailorcurt has pointed out to me that the law allowing Commonwealth's Attorneys to carry in restaurants allows them to drink while carrying concealed (as long as they aren't "intoxicated," which is only vaguely and subjectively defined in Virginia law - Sec. 4.1-100 contains the only definition I could find.) SB1035 would have explicitly prohibited CHP holders from consuming any alcohol. Yet another example of how Governor Kaine believes his "Only Ones" are better than the rest of us.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The War on (Some) Drugs

I've never weighed in on the War on (Some) Drugs before, but this story got my interest. My personal view is that we should have learned our lesson with Prohibition. Every time they ban something, they create a new business.* (Not to mention the ridiculous expansion of the Interstate Commerce clause that supports - and is supported by - the War.)

Kalifornia is considering a bill to legalize marijuana and regulate (and tax) it like alcohol. Of course, some people think it's the worst idea since the end of Prohibition. One objector says the easy availability of the drug will lead to a surge in its use, much like what happened when alcohol was allowed to be sold in venues other than liquor stores in some states.

I have news for him: it's already very available. In fact, retired Orange County Superior Court Judge James Gray (someone who ought to know) responds by saying "We couldn't make this drug any more available if we tried."

He seems to realize that bans on things just don't work. He also says that legalizing marijuana would save the state a billion dollars a year in court costs alone. "Not only do we have those problems, along with glamorizing it by making it illegal, but we also have the crime and corruption that go along with it." He adds, "Unfortunately, every society in the history of mankind has had some form of mind-altering, sometimes addictive substances to use, to misuse, abuse or get addicted to. Get used to it. They're here to stay. So, let's try to reduce those harms and right now we couldn't do it worse if we tried." [emphasis mine]

I think he gets it.

* This is a rough quote from a book in the Vlad Taltos series by Steven Brust. I just can't remember which book.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Published CHP Information

I have now gotten a look at the list in question from the Chatham Star-Tribune (with thanks to Phillip Van Cleave, VCDL President), and while it's still very bad, it's not - quite - as bad as I initially thought. The good thing? It's not a list of all CHP holders in the county. The bad thing? It is a list of people in Pittsylvania county who were issued CHPs in January. Which leads to my next question:

Is this a regular item in this paper?

I won't post the images I received, for obvious reasons. It does look like it's not a complete list, and no addresses are given. On the other hand, enough information is given that finding someone using the list would be very easy.

On the gripping hand, it's a good example of why the legislature needs to act to stop this garbage.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Another paper publishes CHP information

According to the VA Citizens Defense League another Virginia paper, the Chatham Star-Tribune, has published a list of CHP holders. I'm currently trying to get verification and more detail.

This one is personal, as my parents live in that area.

More (hopefully) after work.


It should be noted that, while I have no reason to mistrust or disbelieve VCDL, I have not been able to confirm this personally. I have not been able to locate the list, or any reference to it, on the Star-Tribune's website. I posted a comment requesting more information on the VCDL blog entry I linked to above, but have not yet received a reply.

If anyone can corroborate this, please let me know. I'd like to know if my parents (or any other family members) are on the published list, so I can make them aware.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Quote of the Day 3-5-09

" I am not even sure where Sunday went. Last thing I remember was Nyquil and then it was Tuesday."
From the webcomic DMFA (scroll down to the "Rant O' Update").