Outraged Arlington County residents are causing a firestorm of controversy over a new gun shop scheduled to open in close proximity to a preschool.
NOVA Armory announced plans to open the new store in Lyon Park this March, but furious residents are pushing back and demanding the planned opening be cancelled. The store’s location will be near a family neighborhood and preschool, and only blocks away from a local elementary and middle school, reports WJLA.
Gun shops can’t be in immediate proximity to most schools, but preschools do not fall under that law.
“My initial response was outrage, surprise,” Medha Shah, a mother of three who lives near the proposed gun shop, told WJLA. “We are not your market. Guns and children do not fit.”
NOVA Armory, which brands itself as a sport shooting and custom engraving niche gun shop, pushed back, noting its zoning license is legal.
“Some people would lead you to believe that all firearms are evil, but a majority of Americans, and Arlington residents support sporting arms and the ability to purchase these firearms for their recreational use,” a NOVA Armory spokesman told WJLA. “We plan to have an open house to allow people to see exactly what we offer- and more importantly, what we do not offer.”
Citizens in Arlington County created a petition to defeat the planned opening, however with legal approval from the county, there is not much residents can do to stop the gun shop from opening its doors. The petition on Change.org has 2,460 signatures, reports Fox 5 — Arlington County has a population of roughly 225,000 people.
“This small strip mall along Pershing Drive and Route 50 is in a residential location and literally next door to a day care/after-care school, the Merit School of Arlington,” reads the petition. “We, the citizens of Arlington County, oppose a gun shop at this location. In an era of ever-increasing gun violence, it is unconscionable to locate a gun shop anywhere in the vicinity of schools, both private and public, with young children in close proximity.”
NOVA Armory has not directly responded to the petition but touts it’s a unique shop and looks forward to its opening.
“We wish to offer a sincere thank you to all the Arlington community supporters, our amazing landlord, and all the fellow Arlington business owners that have contacted us and wished us future success,” NOVA Armory says on its website. “NOVA Armory will be the closet full service sporting arms dealers to D.C. and one of the largest sporting arms dealers inside the D.C. Beltway.”
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