One of the restaurants that bears the name of top country crooner Toby Keith is under social media fire for its stand against guns.
Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill opened in mid-December in Woodbridge, Va., outside Washington, D.C., and has instituted a no-guns policy, despite being located in a state that permits firearms in dining establishments.
Some would-be customers said they won't patronize the restaurant. The restaurant's Facebook page has drawn thousands of comments on the decision. "If I have to be a defenseless victim to go there, NO WAY!" one poster wrote.
"No guns allowed? Why does he [Toby Keith] hate America so much?" a Facebook user wrote
"Bottom line is that they do not respect the rights of law-abiding citizens to keep themselves safe. They do not trust them," another wrote.
The franchised restaurants are "inspired by country star Toby Keith," according to the company's website, but it's unclear to what extent he is involved in the operations of individual establishments.
There were comments in support of the restaurant's decision as well. "The Restaurant owner is expressing his FREEDOM. He has the right to keep guns out of his restaurant. He is expressing his FREEDOM," one supporter wrote.
"Hooray for you !!! I'm a Gun Owning [sic] advocate but booze and guns don't mix well so THANK YOU for providing a fun, safe environment," another said.
Many of the comments in support of the ban mentioned the dangers of mixing firearms and alcohol. Carrying a concealed weapon and consuming alcohol in the state of Virginia is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
The restaurant posted on its Facebook page "While we understand and respect every person's right to own and bear arms, we at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar and Grill, with guidance from the State of Virginia and based on insurance regulations, have adopted a no weapons policy. It is our desire to provide a safe, enjoyable and entertaining experience for our patrons and staff."
There are 19 Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grills in the country, with two more coming soon, according to the website.