State’s change to concealed-carry law doesn’t have effect many predicted

When Virginia passed a law allowing concealed carry in bars and alcohol-serving restaurants beginning July 1 of last year, opponents of the change decried the dangers of mixing guns and alcohol, for fear violent crimes would escalate.

But one year later, the Richmond Times-Dispatch did a study to see if the gloomy prognostications came true.

According to state police records, not only did gun violence in bars and restaurants not increase under the new law, it decreased by 5.2 percent.

In fact, of the 145 reported crimes with guns that occurred in Virginia bars and restaurants in fiscal 2010-11 (compared to 153 incidents in the year before the new law took effect), only two of the aggravated assault cases were related to concealed-carry permit holders. In one incident, the crime took place at a restaurant that didn’t serve alcohol – thus unrelated to the new law – and in the other, the weapon was neither discharged nor withdrawn from its holster.

“The numbers basically just confirm what we’ve said would happen if the General Assembly changed the law,” Philip Van Cleave, president of the pro-gun Virginia Citizens Defense League, told the Times-Dispatch. “Keep in mind what the other side was saying – that this was going to be a blood bath, that restaurants will be dangerous and people will stop going. But there was nothing to base the fear-mongering on.”

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