Moving to N. VA: Seeking Advice


PDA






JJNA
March 30, 2005, 02:29 PM
I will be moving to northern VA this summer from Seattle, WA.

Could someone kindly provide some pointers related to shooting/gun matters in northern VA?

For example, is the NRA range a good place to shoot pistols and rifles? What and who are some of the better local gun shops and gunsmiths?

I have been spoiled by the CCP system in WA (background check only; no proficiency requirement; can carry at restaurants that serve alcohol so long as not a "bar"). I understand that VA requires some sort of "training" for CCP and bars carrying even at restaurants if the latter serve alcohol. Is this true?

As a side matter, I am also looking for a gun-friendly red town/county in the area. What's the skinny on areas like Chantilly, Falls Church, Great Falls, McLean and Wolf Trap? Is it better to be out of Fairfax County and live somewhere in, say, Loudoun County?

Thanks ahead for any advice.

If you enjoyed reading about "Moving to N. VA: Seeking Advice" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
mtnbkr
March 30, 2005, 02:52 PM
The NRA range is a good place for rifles and handguns as long as 50yds is long enough for you. It has been very crowded lately though. If you need a longer range, there's Clark Bros out in Warrenton. For shotgun games, check out Bull Run Shooting Center in Centreville. It's part of the Fairfax Co park system. If you have the cash, a membership at Fairfax Rod and Gun club would be nice. Lots of ranges for all sorts of shooting, but it'll cost you.

CHL in Va is easy. Yes, you have a training requirement, but it only requires a safety class, no proficiency proof required. Heck, even your hunter safety class qualifies.

Carry is legal in bars and alcohol serving restaurants if you open carry. Concealed carry is legal in restaraunts that don't serve alcohol.

Chantilly, Falls Church, Great Falls, McLean and Wolf Trap are all "blue" cities. You need to get further west or south to get into red areas. Fairfax is "blue" as well. Parts of Loudoun are less blue, but still more blue than places like Prince William and Faquier counties. Don't let it bother you though. Blue in Va is still more conservative than places like DC, MD, California, and Massachussets.

Chris

countertop
March 30, 2005, 02:56 PM
I will be moving to northern VA this summer from Seattle, WA.

Could someone kindly provide some pointers related to shooting/gun matters in northern VA?
First, feel free to email me for more specific info.
I'll try to your questions one by one.

For example, is the NRA range a good place to shoot pistols and rifles? What and who are some of the better local gun shops and gunsmiths?
Yes, the NRA Range is without a doubt the premier indoor firearms range in the country. It is gorgeous - but as you can read on this board (look under Rally POint - or whatever its called - for the posts on the NoVA Shoot) the wait has become unbearable in recent months. Its mostly the result of allowing anyone to use it instead of just NRA members.

You can shoot any pistol caliber there and pretty much any rifle chambering short of 50 BMG. Its a 50 yard indoor range.

There are a couple of other ranges here - but none compares to the NRA. There are at least 2 Izaac Walton chapters and there is Fairfax Rod and Gun club. Those are all somewhat expensive and have sigificant waits associated with membership. You can also join the range at Quantico - its easier if your a vet or in the military - but they occaisionally have openings for the general public too.
There is also Blue Ridge Arsenal - but I don't like to shoot there and it doesn't accept rifle calibers.

As for gun shops - Potomac Arms in Alexandria has an excellent selection of used and historic firearms. Blue Ridge Arsenal is the only dealer in Fairfax know that Galyans is gone. Their selection is limited (though they claim it will improve) and their prices are very high.

For your money, the best bet is probably Virginia Arms in Manasas or Guns and Ammo Warehouse also in Manasas. You can also try Shooters Paradise in Springfield and Dawson's Small Arms of the World. There are a number of Pawn shops too, and some other smaller gun shops, but these are the best to start with (IMHO).

If you want to go a bit further - you can try the Range in Stafford (they sell guns and have a handgun shooting range - they also rent MP5s) and Gander Mountain in Fredersickburg/Spotsylvania.
The smith at Virginia Arms is supposed to be great.

I have been spoiled by the CCP system in WA (background check only; no proficiency requirement; can carry at restaurants that serve alcohol so long as not a "bar"). I understand that VA requires some sort of "training" for CCP and bars carrying even at restaurants if the latter serve alcohol. Is this true?

Carrying in Virgina is about as easy as it gets.

First, you can open carry at any time.

If you want a permit - and I suggest you get one - then you are required to show training - but almost anything qualifies . . . . there isn't a set course you need to take. Most of the CCW courses you see are just NRA Basic Pistol with some additional info on the law of carrying. If your retired military or police or active duty you don't need the course and there are a bunch of other exemptions too.

Once your application is in, it should be less than 90 days, though in some places (Arlington, Alexandria) they will probably hold it for 90 days - if not more - just to harass you.

As far as resataruants/bars - you can carry there - but it has to be open. This usually isn't a problem.

As a side matter, I am also looking for a gun-friendly red town/county in the area. What's the skinny on areas like Chantilly, Falls Church, Great Falls, McLean and Wolf Trap? Is it better to be out of Fairfax County and live somewhere in, say, Loudoun County?

Where are you working? What is your budget?
If your working in DC, you want to be closer in, but your gonna pay a whole heck of a lot more - Over $900K in Great Falls/McLean at a minimum - my townhouse in Mclean is in the cheapest townhouse development here and they are now going for over $650K if you can find one on the market (I paid under $230 for mine :) )

I believe as of last weekend there were 6 homes/townhomes listed on this end of Fairfax under $750 - and most of them aren't fit for habitation but instead are being sold as knockdowns.

Falls Church (City of) is almost as expensive as McLean, but if you live in Falls Church (Fairfax County) its significantly less (but then you deal with lots of imigrants, gangs, bad schools, etc). Not sure about Chantilly. Wolf Trap is basically Vienna. I like it, but its also expensive.

Let me know what your thinking or email me more info. My wife works for Long and Foster (she's not a realtor) and I can get you much more detailed info on the local markets (as well as steer you to good realtors.

As far as Loudon vs Fairfax - it again depends on where you are working, how much you want to pay, how much overdevelopment and runaway development you want (Fairfax County - especially McLean - is experiencing infill development now, but has been developed for a longer period of time ie: trees, better traffic flow, established neighborhoods, stable real estate prices. Loudon hasn't and is really a prime example of the race to the bottom in real estate development - now that the county has lost its court case on holding back developers, things are going to be even worse.

Like I said, email me and we can talk in more detail.

mtnbkr
March 30, 2005, 03:07 PM
Oh yeah, property values are insane now. If you want something less than $300k that isn't a dump, be prepared to move west of Manassas or south of Stafford. Quite a few people commute from West Va.

Countertop, if I were sitting on that much equity, I wouldn't live in NoVa for long. Heck, I have almost $150k in equity myself, all from property values going up, up, up.

Chris

countertop
March 30, 2005, 03:29 PM
Countertop, if I were sitting on that much equity, I wouldn't live in NoVa for long. Heck, I have almost $150k in equity myself, all from property values going up, up, up

Yep! I agree - thats why I am activly seeking employment elsewhere :D

Actually though, I sort of dig living here - and I can't really do my job elsewhere (and I am nauseus at the thought of going back into law practice). Plus, when they finally get around to building the Silver line on the metro - the first stop from West Falls Church will be less than 1/4 mile from my door - and I figure I'll get another $100k out of that, at least.

If you know anyone in Atlanta who wants to hire an environmental attorney let me know.

marley
March 30, 2005, 03:58 PM
The time to get a permit is only 45 days. It used to be 90 days. I live in Richmond and I say that anywhere north of the Rappahnnock is a blue area. Va is a nice place and we need to take back the north of VA. So come on down. Patrick

TinCup
March 30, 2005, 04:18 PM
Quote:
"Once your application is in, it should be less than 90 days, though in some places (Arlington, Alexandria) they will probably hold it for 90 days - if not more - just to harass you."

According to VA law, the local court has 45 days to take action on your CHP application or they must return your "stamped" CHP application, which in turn becomes your temporary permit good for 90 days.

I would suggest that you check out www.packing.org for the rundown on concealed carry in VA. Also you might want to look into joining the Virginia Citizens Defense League, which is the premier gun rights organization in VA. Check them out at: www.vcdl.org

The only other tips I can give you about moving to NoVA is to bring lots of money and a thick tolerance for liberal BS.

KONY
March 30, 2005, 04:44 PM
Blue Ridge Arsenal is the only dealer in Fairfax know that Galyans is gone. Their selection is limited (though they claim it will improve) and their prices are very high.

Actually, there's also Americans Guns in Fairfax on Lee Highway. However, the folks that work there are "interesting". :uhoh:

countertop
March 30, 2005, 04:50 PM
Actually, there's also Americans Guns in Fairfax on Lee Highway. However, the folks that work there are "interesting".

Never actually went inside I heard a couple of weeks ago that they went under (It might have been in the VCDL newsletter). From what I recall, they were having problems getting insurance.

mtnbkr
March 30, 2005, 04:54 PM
The best shops in the area, IMO are: Virginia Arms in Manassas, Guns and Ammo Warehouse in Manassas, and Loudoun Guns in Leesburg. Potomac Arms is ok, but have been declining in recent years. I won't bother with Blue Ridge Arsenal.

If you don't mind driving, there's a Cabelas just under 4hours from here. Worth the drive if you have a free Saturday. There's also Gander Mtn in Fredericksburg (less than 1 hr) and Bass Pro Shop in Hampton (3hrs).

Maybe a THR roadtrip to Cabelas is in order... :D

Chris

KONY
March 30, 2005, 05:01 PM
Never actually went inside I heard a couple of weeks ago that they went under (It might have been in the VCDL newsletter). From what I recall, they were having problems getting insurance.

Wow, did not know that. I never like to see a shop close, even bad ones (just goofy like that, I guess). I was in there not too long ago. I remember because I was looking at a P-11 and the guys were talking about the machete incident in Merrifield. Then, one gentleman made a pretty crude remark (won't repeat). Still, I would rather someone have bought the place out than see it closed down. :(

JJNA
March 30, 2005, 08:40 PM
Hmmm. Much of what I read jibes with my research.

My problem is that I am an epicurean misanthrope. In other words, I don't like people, but like food. Unfortunately, food is generally where people are. There must... MUST be a decent Thai restaurant nearby. A good gun range must also be within 1 hour of driving.
The only other tips I can give you about moving to NoVA is to bring lots of money and a thick tolerance for liberal BS.Folks, I am coming from Seattle, as in Berkeley on Puget Sound. At least VA is a red state.

Proximity to DC is nice, but something near Fairfax would be more helpful.
Falls Church (City of) is almost as expensive as McLean, but if you live in Falls Church (Fairfax County) its significantly less (but then you deal with lots of imigrants, gangs, bad schools, etc).Fall Church has gangs?

I thought the numbers for it looked pretty good:http://www.city-data.com/city/Falls-Church-Virginia.html

Didn't seem like gang kind of city at all... Hmmm...

What's northwest of Great Falls? Anything there?

XLMiguel
March 30, 2005, 09:53 PM
Yeah, Falls Church has gangs. We is a melting pot, so we have a little of everything, mostly Asian and Hispanic (including MS 13), some black, a few skinheads (pretty rare), and never underestimate the stupidity of snotty, over-privelidged white kids, either (though they aren't really 'gangs'). WE have a few problems, but it shore ain't DC or PG county.

Ffx Co police have a fairly active anti-gang thing going on, but you know how it is with cockroaches. Most of Falls Church is fairly affluent, though not like Great Falls, parts of Vienna, or McLean. There are pockets of 'affordable' housing here and there, but it takes a smart realtor to find them.

There are plenty of good restraunts here (including Thai), more in DC, and all kinds of ethinic markets if you like to cook. Don't worry about your 'social proclivities', we have no shortage of socially arrested, proctologically-challenged people here, no one will really notice if all you do is keep to yourself.

Northwest of Great Falls is Leesburg/Loudoun County, I've been doing a little consulting with their Dept of Econ Development, might be able to hook you up with a data spource. PM or e-mail me if you'd like to chat, I have free LD on my cell. I worked for Boeing [Computer Services] for 10 years locally, was in/out of Seatle a lot, so I might be able to compare & contrast. This is an interesting place to live, lots to offer, but like Seattle, has it's annoyances, too (Chesapeake Blue Crabs are fine eating, but nothing like Dungeness -).

crucible
March 30, 2005, 10:09 PM
Loudoun County is nice (I live there), but it is the fastest growing country in the US (!), with all the good and bad that kind of thing can entail. Western Loudoun is very much still a country atmosphere; eastern is suburbia.

Falls Church has some decent.nice areas, but those generally are pretty doggone expensive (as is anything the closer it gets to DC proper.) Much of the remainder of Falls Church/Arlington is a haven for immigrants-legal and otherwise due to the proximity for lower cost (a very reletive term in this area) old apartment dwellings built just after WWII. My former wife taught school at one of the better known high schools there for awhile and in her class of 30 kids, 90% were ESL immigrants. Gang problems were pretty bad to be sure. (And before someone throws the racist card, that is simply a description of reality-nothing more. I welcome all legal immigrants, and am not in the slightest racist). Falls Church government types are quickly becoming the Poeple's Republic of Falls Church in their attempts by thier city manager to circumvent Va. state laws on gun possession and carrying trying to create a defacto illegal gun ban last September. www.vcdl.org

and never underestimate the stupidity of snotty, over-privelidged white kids

+1 Absa-friggen-lutely.

The entire Great Falls area is probably the weathiest area in the entire DC metro area-and the houses reflect that. Unless you're made of money, forget it.

Fairfax and Springfield may be possibilities for you, maybe Centerville, Fair Lakes, and again Loudoun county. I guess it depends on how much you going to want to spend for housing, those housing requirements themselves, and your willingness to deal with traffic-the entire area is a clsoe second to southern CA for that unfortunately.

Re: reb/blue: things are getting better-only later last year did Fairfax county have it's first gun show in decades(?), which due to the efforts of VCDL in getting their specifc laws that made a defacto ban on gun show sales negates with state preempture laws.

I know some good real estate folks in the area which could help further I believe.

Chris

JJNA
March 31, 2005, 12:23 PM
Loudoun County is nice (I live there), but it is the fastest growing country in the US (!), with all the good and bad that kind of thing can entail.What are some of those good and bad things?

Also, are there reputable gunsmiths with reasonable waitlists in northern VA and who are they?

Lastly:...the guys were talking about the machete incident in Merrifield.What machete incident in Merrifield?

mtnbkr
March 31, 2005, 12:36 PM
What are some of those good and bad things?
Good:
Schools, shopping, restaurants, etc

Bad:
Crowds, traffic, loss of open land, crime

As for gunsmiths, there's one at Clark Brothers in Warrenton and there's a guy in Springfield. I won't do business with the latter as he's a rude ???????. He's good, but a real jerk. There are others in the area, but I need a gunsmith so rarely, I don't keep up with any of them. One guy in Leesburg is pretty good, but I can't remember his name, nor do I have his contact info any longer. There's also a guy in Sterling. He goes to the gunshows and sells parts for ARs and 1911s (among other things). He's pretty cool and knows his stuff. They're around, but only the guy in Springfield has an actual "storefront".

Chris

Ol' Badger
March 31, 2005, 12:43 PM
Don't forget Gilberts range in Springfield. Nice folks there, except for the FAT guy who knows it all.

Mr. James
March 31, 2005, 01:14 PM
JJNR,

This Bainbridge Island transplant welcomes you. You asked about the machete attacks - there have been more than one, all gang related. I understand some of the Asian gangs prefer baseball bats:

Leesburg Machete Attack MS-13 Gang-Related
Dan Telvock

Jun 22, 2004 -- A Leesburg man reported to police on June 10 that he was attacked by his roommate who was wielding a machete. Eleven days after the incident, the Leesburg Police Department confirmed that an arrest of an alleged MS-13 gang member resulted from the investigation.
A search warrant filed in Loudoun Circuit Court states that Leesburg Police Detective Patrick Daly, also a member of the Northern Virginia Gang Task Force, investigated the case.

The warrant states that Hugo Acosta told police that his roommate attempted to hit him with the machete outside their apartment on Edwards Ferry Road NE, but missed him, and ended up hitting Acosta’s car.

“Acosta fled for his life,” the warrant states. “Acosta stated [his roommate] had the machete hidden in his clothing.”

Investigators searched the apartment earlier this month and recovered a machete.

When questioned about the alleged assault on June 18, Leesburg Police Lt. Jeff Dube said the attacker was waving a “large knife.” On Monday, he confirmed that the weapon used was a machete and that Ronald Jurado, 19, of Leesburg was charged with assault and destruction of property. Dube said that there is a federal immigration detainer on Jurado and that the incident is believed gang-related.

The daily report that the police department files on the Town of Leesburg’s Web site states that the case was an aggravated assault/destruction of property investigation, but it did not say what happened or that it was being investigated as a gang-related incident.

“We don’t confirm until an arrest is made because that’s one of their recruitment tactics,” Dube said.

12-Year Term in Machete Attack
[I]3rd Defendant Given Credit for Cooperation, Remorse
By Tom Jackman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 5, 2005; Page B04

The third and final gang member involved in the machete attack last spring that severed four fingers from a 16-year-old boy's hand was sentenced yesterday to 12 years in prison.

Jose Cruz-Melendez, 19, of Annandale received three years less than his two co-defendants, all members of the Latino gang Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13. Attorneys in the case and the judge said that unlike Hayner R. Flores and Cristobal Z. Medrano, he had not been an MS-13 member for long, cooperated with police and showed genuine remorse. He also said he did not wield a machete that night.

In addition to losing four fingers from one hand, the victim, who did not attend the hearing in Fairfax Circuit Court, nearly lost the thumb from the other, but it was reattached. He also suffered deep gashes to his head and back.

"The injuries are horrific," Fairfax Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jay R. Nanavati said yesterday. "The societal cost, in terms of fear for the neighbors, is tremendous. It makes certain neighborhoods essentially subject to the law of the jungle."

The May 10 machete attack on Edsall Road in the Alexandria area of Fairfax and a gang-related slaying days later in Herndon rekindled public outrage over gang violence and generated additional government funding for Northern Virginia's nascent gang problem.

Authorities believe MS-13 is the area's dominant street gang, with more than 2,000 members, and much of the recent gang-related violence has been attributed to it.

Nanavati said the victim and two other members of South Side Locos had chased the three MS-13 members with baseball bats after an earlier exchange of insults. The MS-13 members retreated to an apartment and emerged with machetes. Now the chase was reversed. The 16-year-old was knocked down and trapped by Flores, Medrano and Cruz-Melendez, Nanavati said, who rained machete blows on the teenager as he cowered and covered his head.

All three defendants pleaded guilty to malicious wounding and gang participation. Alene C. Grabauskas, Cruz-Melendez's attorney, said her client deserved some leniency because he had no prior criminal record, had a job and a supportive family and had not swung a machete during the attack. She said he had been an MS-13 member for two months and had been threatened with death in prison if he left the gang.

Cruz-Melendez stood up in court and apologized to the victim and his family. "I regret with all my heart not doing anything to stop what happened. I will carry the guilt with me forever."

Judge David T. Stitt imposed a 20-year term for malicious wounding but suspended 10 years, and he imposed a 10-year term for gang participation but suspended eight years. He also ordered the three defendants to pay $14,632 in restitution to the victim for his hospital bills.

"This is an absolutely brutal crime," Stitt said. "The victim is crippled for life. It's the kind of behavior that's not going to be tolerated in Fairfax County."

© 2005 The Washington Post Company

countertop
March 31, 2005, 02:11 PM
There is a fair amount of Latino and Asian gang activity in the area. For the most part it is confined to those areas where they live (cheaper parts of the region, rental housing/garden apartments/immigrant neighborhoods) however, it does spill out and mix with the general population (as the multiplex machete attack showed).

There is a sense that more of it occurs than actually does - mostly because the news can't stop talking about it, but it is a concern. For awhile last year there was some concern that as part of an "initation" ritual attacks on otherwise innocent non gang members would be stepped up. During this time my wife was pretty scared as one day a van of teenagers (LAtinos, both boys and girls) pulled up and started harassing her while walking our son (he was an infant) - they quickly drove away after my dog started barking and a neighbor walked up.

Thats the only incident I am personally aware of, but the cops in the McLean Station House told me there had been some others.

Still, I wouldn't worry too much. The problems the region faces aren't unique to any ast growing urban/suburban area - and in fact in Virginia (as opposed to Maryland) the crime rates are startling lower than most other locations with our population numbers/densities. I'd like to think that is the result of Virginia's liberal CHL laws, but I don't really think so.

Rather, its more likely the result of the (general) common sense mindset that would allow CHLs in the first place but would also not blink twice about sending a perp away for a long long long time and will harrass and arrest someone who is causing trouble first, and then ask questions later.

The few times I've had to call the cops out (incident above, as well as in response to door to door soliciters not leaving the neighborhood) the cops showed up within minutes.

Also, don't worry about the Red/Blue fears in NoVA. While the folks in Arlington are nauseatingly liberal for Virginia (most are government employees or work for some no nprofit or law firm or another), on a whole, they are far more conservative than you will find outside most other major cities. Arlingtons got enough going for it (and the state restricts its ability to mess with your guns enough) that I wouldn't worry about living there . . . and keep searching for the right place there to move to.

garyk/nm
March 31, 2005, 02:26 PM
Please excuse the intrusion, but you all are scaring me. I have strong ties to No. VA, having partly grown up in Leesburg (60's- early 70's) as my grandparents lived there. My folks now live in Lovettsville. What is the situation out that way? Do I need to pay them a visit soon to make sure all is well? This is the first I have heard about the gang problems there. :what:

mtnbkr
March 31, 2005, 03:05 PM
I wouldn't worry about it Gary. I live in Manassas, which has an arguably higher gang population than most of NoVa, and haven't had a bit of trouble.

Chris

countertop
March 31, 2005, 03:17 PM
As MTNBKR just said, don't worry too much.


As I said,
There is a sense that more of it occurs than actually does - mostly because the news can't stop talking about it,

md2lgyk
March 31, 2005, 03:19 PM
Almost hate to mention it since we're being inundated as it is, but you might consider the Panhandle of West Virginia (I live in Charles Town). Lots of growth here, with many folks moving in from NoVA and MD. The gun laws are pretty much the same as VA. Housing has skyrocketed in the last 5 years, but you can still get a really decent new house for maybe $250K minimum. The commute probably sucks if you work in VA but hey, you've gotta compromise somewhere.

Mr. James
March 31, 2005, 04:13 PM
As countertop says, please, do not worry overmuch. This isn't a daily feature of life here, by any means. Ten years in the same location (Centreville) and nary a problem.

garyk/nm
March 31, 2005, 04:14 PM
Thanks for the calm-down; you had me worried! Guess I should plan a visit anyway, although I prefer to remember the area as it used to be. Picture this: From Goose Creek to Leesburg on Rt 7, nothing but a few farmhouses and a lot of open grazing land. Sterling did not exist. Oh, the good old days. :rolleyes:

countertop
March 31, 2005, 06:27 PM
Picture this: From Goose Creek to Leesburg on Rt 7, nothing but a few farmhouses and a lot of open grazing land. Sterling did not exist. Oh, the good old days.

Aaah, the good old days. It was still sort of like that when I first started dating my wife 10 years ago.

Now, of course, its mostly ugly, sterile office buildings, strip malls (and big box retailers), new pre fab homes, and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of cars (did I mention the traffic is pretty bad?) :cuss:

JJNA
April 5, 2005, 05:45 AM
Some more questions:

1. So, in VA, even if I have a CPL, I cannot carry concealed at a restaurant if the it serves alcohol (something which I am able to do in Seattle)? Good grief, that's going to ruin my lifestyle. I am going to have to a) leave my carry pistol in the car, 2) open-carry and scare people or III) not go to restaurants that serve alcohol. None of these is an attractive option.

Is there any chance this goofy regulation would change anytime soon?

2. How about Chantilly, Ashburn and Sterling? Are they safe areas? My wife and I are looking more and more at Loudoun county areas, particularly immediately NW of Great Falls.

I also noticed that Herndon has good sized homes at lower prices than in some of the surrounding areas. What's wrong with Herndon?

3. How is the quality of home/townhome construction in NoVA? In Seattle, during the Internet boom years many shabby buildings of all kinds (particularly condos and townhomes) went up, leading to many lawsuits later. In general, has the real estate boom in NoVA resulted in lower quality construction there?

Thank you again for all the ideas.

James
http://gunsandbutter.blogspot.com

Namvet
April 5, 2005, 07:37 AM
JJNA,

Virtually all areas of Northern Virginia are safe. You have to remember that this area has one of the highest median incomes in the nation. There is gang activity, but it rarely impacts anyone other than other/rival gang-members. Housing prices are insane here. Even in Loudon and Fauqiuer counties. It is a fairly gun-friendly area, though. Virginia Arms, Gilberts Small Arms Range, Potomac Arms, Clark Brothers are all great gunshops. All American Gun has lost their lease, but I liked them too. Blue Ridge Arsenal and Loudon Guns are not on my favorites list.
I do have a VA. CHL and would never open-carry, anywhere. Open-carry serves no real purpose other saying that you can. Has and does cause problems.
Note to Ol' Badger: The FAT know-it-all has worked in the firearms industry and is a custom gunsmith whose work has been featured in national publications. He may come off wrong to overly sensitive people, but he does indeed know what he is talking about.
DRC

Bubbles
April 5, 2005, 09:19 AM
IMO the biggest factor in deciding where to live is to look at where you'll be working, and live in a place that gives you a relatively easy commute.

For instance, I live in Sterling and work in Chantilly. Door to door commute is 11 miles and 20 minutes each way. I used to work in Rosslyn - 26 miles and 75 minutes away at best, plus tolls and dealing with HOV (high-occupancy vehicle or "car-pool") lanes at certain times of the day.

Chantilly, Ashburn, Sterling, and Herndon are as "safe" as any area in the region. I chose Sterling over Herndon when I bought my townhouse twelve years ago b/c the Town of Herndon charges its own property tax on top of the Fairfax County real-estate tax, and that made a difference in how much house I could afford at the time.

Be prepared for real-estate sticker shock. Property assessments are rising 20-40% annually.

Politically, Loudoun County is red, Fairfax is blue.

On the CCW in restaurants issue - just open carry and dress decently. People have gotten used to it, and the ones who actually notice will think you're an off-duty LEO.

KONY
April 5, 2005, 09:45 AM
I am going to have to a) leave my carry pistol in the car, 2) open-carry and scare people or III) not go to restaurants that serve alcohol. None of these is an attractive option.

Well, these three don't really describe the open carry scene in NoVA. Want some real first hand accounts that I can vouch for (as in I was actually there)? Go here:

www.bighammer.net

This log of open carry nights out in NoVA are priceless accounts supporting the idea that things usually go very smoothe. Hope this helps!

mtnbkr
April 5, 2005, 11:29 AM
Even though NoVa is the more liberal part of Va, it's still pretty conservative and gun friendly compared to other states.

When you start looking for a home (apt or house), pay attention not only to your neighborhood, but any that might be around it. Nova has a lot of areas where you'll have a decent neighborhood right next to a slum. It's more of a problem with apartments and townhomes than single family homes though.

Chris

Smurfslayer
April 5, 2005, 03:59 PM
You've gotten some good advice in previous responses.

I see my good friend Kony has beaten me to it WRT open carry here.

One with which I disagree:

"I do have a VA. CHL and would never open-carry, anywhere. Open-carry serves no real purpose other saying that you can. Has and does cause problems."

This is subjective and opinion, not fact. As Kony pointed out, I document incidents of open carry for exactly this reason. It looks from the numbers like guys and gals from NH have more trouble with Open Carry than anyone else.

In my opinion, it is exactly this attitude and statement which fascilitates the contemplation, discussion and eventual legislation to restrict our rights in the first place. Concealed carry is a privilege except in Vermont. Alaska passed a law to make it legal, and therefore it is a privilege there too. Permits and licenses represent a state granted privilege. As above stated, restaurants leave Virginians exercising their state granted privilege to carry concealed a choice - expose, or disarm (or break the law). I think the only problem that open carry causes is that I need 2 holsters for guns that I carry instead of one ;)

That said, there's a time and place for everything and I prefer concealed. I don't want you to read the OC log and decide you'll open carry, nor am I bent on converting you. I just want it to show that the people who do it are regular folks, who aren't causing any trouble, are obeying the law and exercising their rights. In other words - Good Citizens.


MTNBKR Chris counseled to watch your neighborhoods, and I concur.

http://www.vaamberalert.com/
http://www.vsp.state.va.us/missing.htm
http://sex-offender.vsp.state.va.us/cool-ICE/

Fairfax has a pretty neat emergency alert that will email & text msg. your cell. Not sure of the other counties / cities.

Warnings of real estate prices were probably not taken seriously enough. This place is hopping. There's very little negotiating on prices, generally it's how much OVER the asking price the seller will get. Of the areas close to DC, Lorton, Woodbridge & Manassas are probably the cheapest. Springfield gets an honorable mention. Unfortunately if you look at the crime reports, these places are mentioned more often. There are pockets of calm in the sea though. Also, before settling on a place, DRIVE to it in rush hours and make sure you can live with it.

KONY
April 5, 2005, 04:08 PM
Great info offered-up by Smurfslayer! :)

Namvet
April 5, 2005, 08:18 PM
Smurfslayer,

Not opinion on the open carry and not subjective. Re: the Starbucks, Champ's, Reston Town Center incidents. (you may have been involved in these or remember them) I am a firm believer and solid supporter of firearms rights in Virginia and elsewhere. Open carry being one of those rights. I know dozens of people in the firearms business, collectors, competetive shooters, etc. in Virginia. Not a single one, for one reason or another, uses the open carry option. In fact, I have yet to see anyone, anywhere in Northern Virginia
utilize the open carry option.
Again, not damning it, just not for me and obviously not for lots of others as well.
PS The open carry hysteria has calmed down it seems. But, I feel that this is because so few people actually do it
DRC

KONY
April 5, 2005, 09:29 PM
PS The open carry hysteria has calmed down it seems. But, I feel that this is because so few people actually do it

Well, I have no source of statistics describing the number of people that open carry (besides Smurfslayer's accounts, which I can verify a number of because I was there) so I can't comment on this with a great amount of certainty (would welcome any other sources). However, I disagree with your opinion that there is no "hysteria" because so few people actually do it. In my opinion, seeing something that occurs rarely (again, assuming that open carry in restaurants is indeed a rare occurrence) would lead to MORE panic (people fear the unfamiliar) ... so this shouldn't be the reason. Plus, Smurfslayer's data shows there is no "hysteria" when one open carries and this proposition gains more weight as his accounts get larger (both in frequency and diversity of establishments).

JJNA
April 6, 2005, 03:55 AM
I fully understand the constitutional argument behind open carry. I personally do not have a problem with it (why would I?). If pushed enough, I might even admit that I do not care much about scaring others (remember I am an epicurean misanthrope, but a misanthrope nonetheless :)).

In all seriousness, however, what I personally do not like about open carry is that it forces me to relinquish an element of surprise when forced into a confrontation. That is the real reason why I don't want to open carry.

I am still shaking my head at this strange requirement in VA. Even in hyper-liberal Seattle, there is no such restriction at restaurants, alcohol or no.

WA has its own share of quirks of course, eg. no open carry and prohibition at bars and "outdoor music festivals" (with a couple of thousand attendants, I think).

By the way, does anyone have a comment on build quality of homes in NoVA?

Lastly, how long is the commute from, say, Leesburg (or Ashburn) to Fairfax? Or from the same starting point to DC (K Street)?

James
http://gunsandbutter.blogspot.com

chris in va
April 6, 2005, 03:57 AM
I have a little input for you.

Bought a simple townhouse built in '74 for $89k 5 years ago, and just got a contract for it at $305k :eek: . Mainly latino families are buying up the more 'affordable' housing in NVA, and when you get here you'll find out just how many spanish there really are. WTOP reported upwards of 500,000+ in the DC area alone. I have a contract for a house out in Winchester (check on Mapquest) if that gives you any idea how far out I had to go for decent housing and still have a city around me. A realtor put it this way...anything within 60 miles of DC will have a severely overinflated housing market.

As for open carry in ABC restaraunts, I wouldn't worry too much about that. When I have to, I find a booth and sit with it facing the wall. So far after a couple times (I'm new to CCW) no one has made an issue. It's a silly law, I agree.

BTW here's a picture of my house I just sold. Like I said, nothing fancy and certainly not worth $305k IMO.http://img126.exs.cx/img126/1390/propertyphoto18ur.jpg

You'll like the NRA range, Shooters Paradise and Bull Run Shooting Center. I *love* shooting trap. :D

EDIT: Just saw your question about build quality. I am a professional window cleaner so I see a LOT of houses. The new ones they have been building for the past 10 years are S**T. Very cheaply done, shaky and get put up in a matter of days. The bigger, more expensive houses are just that...bigger and expensive, not better quality. The windows are cheap, walls shake, siding flies off in wind, etc. Try and find a house built in the 70's if you can. Very well made. Heck, mine has two steel I-beams in the basement.

KONY
April 6, 2005, 10:47 AM
Just saw your question about build quality. I am a professional window cleaner so I see a LOT of houses. The new ones they have been building for the past 10 years are S**T. Very cheaply done, shaky and get put up in a matter of days. The bigger, more expensive houses are just that...bigger and expensive, not better quality. The windows are cheap, walls shake, siding flies off in wind, etc. Try and find a house built in the 70's if you can. Very well made. Heck, mine has two steel I-beams in the basement.

Chris,

Thanks for this bit of info. As you know, I was thinking about buying this year but can't do it due to finances. However, next year, I will try again so I will take your advice about build quality. Honestly though, if the housing market doesn't get better for buyers by that time (doubtful), I will seriously think about moving elsewhere if I can find a decent place to work. With Florida's newly passed self-defense laws, I just may give living there another shot (spent 1.5 in Orlando for school).

mtnbkr
April 6, 2005, 12:02 PM
Unfortunately, I don't see it getting any better. The last "correction" was in the early 90s. It's done nothing but go up since then. There have been periods of slower growth, but even so, it's been fast and furious since about 1998 or so. Your best bet is to move to the outer fringes of NoVa, such as Stafford (maybe Fredericksburg) or west down 66 past Gainsville.

You might look into a 103% loan (or similar). Those will let you buy a house with no money down, not even closing costs. Your interest rate will be higher and you'll pay mortgage insurance, but after you get some equity in, you can refi for a lower rate and drop the PMI. I bought my house in 2001 this way (7.5%) and refi'ed in 2003 for 5.8%.

The nice thing about this housing market is that once you get a house, you'll be almost certain of making real money when you sell. That means a house in the country with land for a range. :D

Chris

GuidoTorpedo
April 6, 2005, 01:23 PM
I can't comment much on CCW in VA (as I haven't gotten mine yet), but I can comment on some good Thai restaurants.

Dungrats (in Falls Church)
Pelin (in Falls Church)
Sakoontra (in Fairfax)
www.sakoontra.com

I don't know what size place you are looking for, but I can comment on my recient condo buying experience (1 month ago). I just bought a condo right down the street from the NRA range (Fairfax, VA). It's a 2 br, 2 bath, with a loft and an attached garage (1505 sq ft.). Final price came out to $382,000. I can suggest a good realtor if you want.

As for ranges, I've only shot at a few places. Shooters Paradise (Woodbridge), the NRA range (Fairfax), and Clarks Bros (Warrenton???). The first two are indoor and allow both rifles and pistols (although the NRA is limited to 50 yards and Shooters is limited to 25). Clarks Bros is outdoors but the caveat is that you must buy their ammo to shoot there (no range fee though).

Shooters is OK. The employees are generally nice and the facilities are OK. They seem to have decient prices but their selection is mainly Glocks, Sigs, and 1911s (I'm a CZ guy). Their customers are usually questonable (being in Hood-bridge) and a lot of times you see a lot of unsafe and questionable activity.

The NRA is really nice. Their staff is VERY friendly and very helpful. Only issue is that they are strict with their time (since they are always busy) and sorta pricey. Make sure you bring your own ammo since they have a very limited selection.

Clarks Brothers was my least favorite. I didnt like that I had to purchase their ammo to use their range (I'd much rather pay a range fee). Their ammo prices were jacked up as a result and if you bring a wide variety of rifles with you (like my friends and I do), you end up paying out the nose. Their employees were a bunch if dicks (which is why I won't go back), especially the range safety officer. I had brought my GF (at the time) with me to teach her how to shoot, and while I was policing up some brass, he approached her and basically told her, "If you can't hit the target well, then you shouldn't be shooting a gun and you certainly shouldn't be on my range." It was her first time shooting and she wasn't the best shot. I'll never go back there because of that.

Potomac Arms (Old Town Alexandria) is a decient store. Their prices are similar to what Shooters has, but I believe since they are in the city of Alexandria, you have to wait 7 days before you're allowed to pick up your purchase (at least I did). The staff is knowledgable and moderately friendly and they have a good selection of firearms and ammo (especially difficult to find calibers like new manufacturer 8mm mauser). I was going to stop by this past weekend, but because of the rain, downtown Old Town was flooded.

Thats about all the comments I have. If you have any specifics, feel free to PM or ask here on the boards.

JJNA
April 7, 2005, 06:20 AM
Unfortunately, I don't see it getting any better. The last "correction" was in the early 90s. It's done nothing but go up since then. There have been periods of slower growth, but even so, it's been fast and furious since about 1998 or so. Your best bet is to move to the outer fringes of NoVa, such as Stafford (maybe Fredericksburg) or west down 66 past Gainsville.For a new buyer, that is something of a reassurance. I don't want to buy at the peak and experience a sudden downturn in prices. While a substantial price increase after I buy would be nice, a steady, long-term growth would be just fine, and perhaps much better for the community at large in the end.

While not nearly as frenetic in the last few years -- thanks to the crashing tech/Internet boom -- housing prices in Seattle and the metro Seattle area, including the redder Eastside (Bellevue, Redmond and etc.) have been rising rapidly as well. Georgraphy also plays a role -- the region is surrounded on three sides by water and on one side by mountains. So I don't think I will be in that much of a sticker shock.

A couple more questions. Is South Riding a part of Chantilly? How would one characterize Chantilly, or South Riding, compared to, say, McLean or Falls Church?

Is Sterling between Ashburn and Great Falls? Both Sterling and Ashburn seem like newer developments? Is this the case? How do they fare in comparison to Great Falls?

Lastly, I see that detached homes are quite a bit less expensive in Herndon than in some of the tonier surrounding areas. The numbers (crime, income, education and etc.) seem to be somewhat worse in Herndon. Is this an accurate observation?

Oh, yes, one more thing. If one were to join one gun club/range in the area, which would you pick?

Thank you all for helpful comments. They have been useful in deciding where to buy!

James
http://gunsandbutter.blogspot.com

Harry Tuttle
April 7, 2005, 10:53 AM
Lovettsville is about to become Leesburg

the developers are massing
the commuters are plotting
the horse stables are exiting

last Friday at 4PM, there was a 3 MPH back up from Leesburgh to Lucketts

How many insta build townhouses can you shoehorn into a cornfield?

Making Route 15 into something bigger than 2 lanes might be a good thing.
Better raise the taxes and assesments to drive all the legacy folke away.

I spent last week in Johnstown PA
wanna see a 250K dollar house in a great school district?
http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?attachmentid=23510&stc=1

Oh well, i better head to DC now
The traffic on 270 at the Beltway should have subsided by now.

JJNA
April 12, 2005, 04:33 AM
Johnstown, PA?

Home of the NDIC?

JJNA
August 17, 2005, 11:29 PM
I made it to NoVA finally. And my goods arrived safely via United Van Lines too.

I like it here. It's definitely a different way of life than the one that exists in Seattle (if anyone wants to know why I left Seattle, read my column in the Seattle Times here (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2002404018_jamesna27.html)).

On my personal blog, Guns and Butter (http://gunsandbutter.blogspot.com/), there are also some entries about what I don't like about the region so far (I detest the local telephone monopoly here).

I quite like all the "Bush 2004" stickers here too (my old neighborhood in Seattle, Queen Anne, had a bewildering array of "Impeach Bush" stickers everywhere).

My thanks to all of you who made very helpful comments.

countertop
August 18, 2005, 12:02 AM
Welcome to NoVA

Where did you end up?

Let me know if you want to hit the range any time soon.

chris in va
August 18, 2005, 01:08 AM
Hey, you made it. Fantastic.

So after reading all our descriptions and seeing it first hand, how close were we? :D Open carried yet in a restaraunt?

XLMiguel
August 18, 2005, 02:27 PM
Glad to hear you made it OK. After the dust settles (like, hung some TP, made a bed, put a 6-pack in the cooler, etc ;)) check in at the Rallying Point and come on out to the NRA Range some Friday PM and get acquainted in person.

countertop
August 18, 2005, 02:54 PM
You going to the range this Friday?

garyk/nm
August 18, 2005, 06:08 PM
James,
I just have to say your column in the Times is one of the most eloquent and non-threatening put-downs I have ever seen. I wonder if they'll get it. Nicely done, Sir!

brickeyee
August 18, 2005, 06:40 PM
"...since they are in the city of Alexandria, you have to wait 7 days before you're allowed to pick up your purchase..."

Recently pre-empted by the State.

If you do decide to look in Falls Church, be aware that the city is not the same as the mailing address. Ads will clearly state "Falls Church City", as opposed to just "Falls Church". It is a rather $$ area, like McLean and Great Falls.

Crime is actually pretty low throughout Northern Virginia, but the crime that occurs tends to be localized to neighborhoods (and among the gangs). Culmore in Baileys Crossroads is not a great area, the low rise housing near 7-corners is not very good, and there are a few old garden apartment spots in Falls Church (city and mailing address) that eave something to be desired.

Housing prices remain crazy, with close in prices being very high.

For a shorter waiting list than Fairfax Rod & Gun (many years last time I checked) you can try the Arlington-Fairfax Izaac Walton League. Decent shotgun, a 100 yard rifle range (no targets closer than 25 yards though, even for handgun), archery, air rifle, a fishing pond, and a generally nice place.

JJNA
August 18, 2005, 08:18 PM
countertop:

We settled for southern part of Loudoun County. Close enough to Fairfax and DC, but slightly lower property and vehicle taxes (and more trees off my backyard!), and more Bush 2004 stickers.

chris in va:

Pretty close, many of your were right on the money. I have not open-carried at a restaurant yet, but will do so (I've already prepared my wife for the "embarrassment"). A good thing is VA recognizes my WA permit.

garyk/nm:

Thank you for the compliment. As usual, some liked it a lot, others hated it. I did get quite a few "good riddance" type e-mails with lots of four letter words (but not nearly as many as the time when I wrote a column endorsing the president before the last election -- I received hundreds the first day!).

If you liked that piece, you might like this one too -- it's about dog poop and Seattle: http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2002239424_jamesna13.html

I have to say, here I see everyone picking up after his dog poo. More respect for property rights and just plain better manners, I guess.

By the way, I don't always write irreverent pieces. I often write about serious issues of foreign policy and national security. If you are interested in other columns of mine, please visit my blog, Guns and Butter (link below) and see "My Published Op-Eds" below "Current Post Index" on the right. I usually write for the Seattle Times and RealClearPolitics.

Thank you again, everyone, for your helpful advice.

DrAmazon
August 18, 2005, 08:33 PM
I moved to F'burg from Colorado about a month ago. Housing prices here are pretty insane too. I'm renting 1300 sq ft, 3 BR ranch, no garage, no carport, no attic, no basement. It would sell for $225K and would sell quickly. You can't touch a townhouse for less than $200K, unless it's in the "sketchy" part of town.

johnmcl
August 18, 2005, 10:04 PM
Hi James,

I'm a late add to reading this thread, but welcome to the Old Dominion.

So how about if we go shooting at my range and then do lunch at a great little Thai restaurant in Manassas? We can then visit Virginia Arms, arguably the best gun shop in NoVa.

My range is the Centreville Izaak Walton League. We can do anything from 25 to 100 yds there. By the way, the IWLA is a steal, running about $140 a year for skeet range, trap range, 100 yd rifle/pistol, and the one of the best archery ranges in Virginia.

Keep well, and welcome again...

John

garyk/nm
August 19, 2005, 12:23 AM
James,
You're welcome! Just read your "dog poop" piece. You have a new fan! I will be watching for more of your thoughtful writings.

garyk/nm: Seattle area resident of 22+ years, now living in the sunshine!

countertop
August 19, 2005, 01:21 AM
johnmcl -

Any chance I can join you out at your range?

Been looking at joining, but there always seems to be a Redskin like wait list (of course, the Redskin's just pulled my number for Tickets after 8 years - I declined with a little note to Danny Boy on what I thought of him and his attitude :fire: )

JJNA
August 19, 2005, 06:47 PM
Thank you all so much for the invitation to go shoot. For the moment, however, I have to catch up with work and setting up a new household, so I will have to take a raincheck for now.

I love guns and, yes, they were the first things I unpacked, but I also have to get a paycheck to sustain the gun habit. :)

In the mean time, I will definitely check out the sites and the organizations mentioned so far. As time (or my wife) allows, I will start checking out the gun stores and clubs too.

And garyk/nm, thank you for your kind words. You indeed do live in a beautiful state.

By the way, speaking of NoVA politics, what in God's name is wrong with Herndon? I thought that I left the illegal alient lovefest behind in Seattle!

johnmcl
August 21, 2005, 10:51 AM
Counter,

Sorry for the late reply. I'd been out of town and now am home.

Drop me a note at galahad4x@yahoo.com and we'll do it. I'll put a note into the membership chairman and see what the story is on joining.

John

JJNA
October 4, 2005, 08:29 AM
Okay, so I open-carried for the first time at a Thai restaurant in Sterling. No problem, no fuss (except the food was very bad). But to be clear, I don't think anyone saw the firearm.

I must admit, I still don't like the idea of open-carrying anywhere. Since I arrived in NoVA, I have concealed-carried (my WA permit is good here) except at restaurants.

VA is supposed to be much "redder" than WA, but gun regulations are arguably more restrictive and my tax burden is heavier (WA has no state income tax and no personal property tax on cars)! But I do understand that WA has heavier taxes and regulations on businesses, which is not good in the long-term (income tax means nothing if there is no income due to no business). In addition, VA has a better legal environment for my wife's profession.

All in all, we are happy about the move, despite the above factors.

Also, in case anyone is interested, here are my recent columns:

Sovereignty, from Sea to Sea (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2002509337_na21.html) (The Seattle Times; also reprinted in RealClearPolitics (http://realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-9_22_05_JN.html)). This is my ode to America.

The US Congress Strikes Back in "the Battle of Inchon" (http://realclearpolitics.com/Commentary/com-9_19_05_JN.html) (RealClearPolitics). Why regime-change in North Korea requires regime-change in South Korea.

XLMiguel
October 4, 2005, 10:54 AM
Nice column, James. I'm a littel jealous, as in my 57 years I have yet to drive across country, though I've flown over most of it. We are planning on relocating to Santa Fe next year, so maybe I'll get my chance then :o .

I particularly appreciated your point about the fragmentation vs the rest of the World trying to become more American. I've never understood why the Moonbats harp on 'cultural diversity', as their notion of social engineering seems to focus on the divisive aspect of diversity, and maintaining our differences doesn't foster unity the way a common language does, not ot mention that it necessary to further the dialog on Freedom and Liberty across all cultures. People come here to become Americans, with all that implies. If they wanted to be Fruementians, they's have stayed in Fruementia.

The Moonbats just don't understand America (musta slept thru history class or figured it was too 'Euro-centric :barf: ), as they've obviously missed the point that we're The Melting Pot, we've always been culturally diverse, it's what makes us a strong and unique culture. We've always been able take and apapt the best part from the cultures of all those who come here to become Americans (E Pluribus Unum, afterall). It's like alloying metal, we take the purest elements and blend them into a metal that's much better and stronger than each of its parts individually.

Sorry to be reambling on, but I did like your piece and it obviously struck a chord. I hope to meet you in person sometime, maybe over at the NRA range sometime when the dust settles at your place.
best regards,

Smurfslayer
October 5, 2005, 09:03 AM
Okay, so I open-carried for the first time at a Thai restaurant in Sterling. No problem, no fuss (except the food was very bad). But to be clear, I don't think anyone saw the firearm.

I must admit, I still don't like the idea of open-carrying anywhere. Since I arrived in NoVA, I have concealed-carried (my WA permit is good here) except at restaurants.

You get a little more accustomed to it. Your experience it typical; usually it is no fuss, no muss. http://www.bighammer.net/pages/12/index.htm

come out and join us at NRA too:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=1951519#post1951519
Friday evenings, or the 4th Wed of the month.

JJNA
October 17, 2005, 11:58 PM
Mike in VA:

Thank you for the kind words. I envy you, actually. Santa Fe is one of my favorite places to visit (the celebrities notwithstanding; on the other hand, celebrities mean good food (http://gunsandbutter.blogspot.com/2005/10/time-for-butter-food.html), which I appreciate).

One of my favorite restaurants in the world, Santa Cafe (http://www.santacafe.com/), is in Santa Fe. The cactus spring roll there is amazing.

No rambling at all. I agree with all of it (obviously). By the way, there is a sequel of sorts to that column here (http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2002552770_na11.html).

Smurfslayer:

Your reports are very handy, but they are all chain restaurants! :)

So this is what I think I'll do the next time I visit the friendly neighborhood Vietnamese restaurant where little English is spoken (I hope the folks there think I am not a gangster :evil: ):

I'll wear a belt holster, concealed with a jacket or otherwise suitable outer garment. When I enter the restaurant and sit down, I'll remove the jacket and reveal the pistol/holster. Then I'll have my meal and put the jacket back on at the table and walk out.

Do you think that's okay or does the law (or the application of it) dictate I remove the garment and reveal the firearm as soon as I enter the establishment?

By the way, one restaurant where I could conceal to my heart's content? An Afghan joint with no ABC! They're Muslims, you see? They don't serve alcohol! Ahhh, one of life's ironies. :)

If you enjoyed reading about "Moving to N. VA: Seeking Advice" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!