Toby Keith is the subject of heated debate in social media for his stance on not allowing guns in his Woodbridge, Virginia restaurant, Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill. Keith has been a vocal supporter of gun rights, and has performed at National Rifle Association sponsored rallies. With his anti-gun stance in regards to his own restaurant in Virginia, some people have branded him as being a “hypocrite” and a “traitor.”
Toby Keith has a popular single out called “Bullets in the Gun.” That, and Keith’s previous support of gun rights, made it surprising to the many of his fans when he had a sign posted on the door of his restaurant that says “NO GUNS PERMITTED.”
While Toby Keith has his had some positive feedback on his Facebook page, much of it has been negative. He has angered Virginia’s gun rights advocates, as Virginia is a state that allows people to carry firearms into bars and restaurants, as long as it’s okay with the owners of the establishments.
If the owners of certain bars and restaurants would prefer not to allow customers to carry guns into their establishments, that is allowable under Virginia state law as long as the owners display a gun-free sign to announce that guns are banned from their premises.
One person who was in favor of the gun ban wrote at Toby Keith’s Facebook page that he believes “it’s hilarious how you are criticizing a private business owner who does not want people open carrying in a bar/restaurant.”
Another person in favor of the anti-gun policy, Jayne Marconi, told Fox News that “alcohol can make you do funny things.” She continued, pointing at the sign, saying that the policy Toby Keith adopted “absolutely makes me feel more comfortable.”
However, another person, critical of the anti-gun policy adopted at the restaurant owned by Toby Keith, wrote that he won’t be going to Keith’s restaurant or be buying his songs “until you turn away from your anti NRA views.” He added: “Get it right and repent quickly.”
Another person critical of Toby Keith’s policy wrote that he was “ashamed to say I was ever a fan of yours,” and also wrote “You truly are a hypocrite.”
Yet another critical response was “Lawfully armed and spending my money elsewhere.”
Toby Keith’s Virginia restaurant is actually a part of his franchise, which is owned by Capri Restaurant Group Enterprises LLC, based in Arizona. The first of the Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar and Grill restaurants opened in 2005 in Oklahoma City. The franchise is now in over a dozen cities in America.
There is a response to the criticism that’s been posted on the Facebook page, that sates the restaurant wants to provide “a safe, enjoyable and entertaining experience for our patrons and staff.”
The post only prompted more criticism, such as one person writing that the response was “a total cop-out to the bad publicity that your bad policy has initiated.”
There might be a loophole for you gun-owners who still would like to take your guns into the restaurant. Virginia is one of six states (the others are Arizona, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Georgia) which lets people carry loaded guns in bars. It doesn’t matter if the establishment has posted a “No Guns Permitted” sign. Unless the state lists the establishment as one where people can’t carry guns, such signs don’t have the force of law.
Toby Keith has said on past occasions that he is a supporter of gun rights, and he is also in favor of people concealed weapons permits and then carrying guns. He said at a 2011 event that if just “one percent of non-felons” would get such licenses and carry guns,” and if you were a member of that group: “one percent puts you in a pretty good position of being somebody that could save a bunch of people’s lives.”
Such remarks by Toby Keith seem to fly in the face of his restaurant’s policy to not allow gun owners to carry their weapons into his Virginia restaurant, and make him seem to be hypocritical, at best. What are your opinions regarding this policy by Toby Keith? Please leave your comments below!
Written by: Douglas Cobb