James Gates is a
former Marine and business owner who planned to expand his business into the D.C. suburb of Arlington, Virginia. The controversy is that his business is firearms.
NOVA Firearms already has a store in McLean, Virginia, but Gates would like to open another, larger store. He secured a five-year lease in a strip mall where a Curves gym used to be located.
The storefront is two blocks away from an elementary school.
Local resident Susan Newton would have none of it. She started a petition on change.org to pressure the landlord to break the lease with Gates. So far, 2,351 people have signed her petition.
“Our landlord is trying to find a way to legally break the lease,” Gates told a D.C.-based radio station. “I’m hoping we have convinced him to give us a chance.”
“Most of the concerns from the petitions I have read, is that they are worried about the kids seeing guns on the walls as they walk by our shop to the local 7-Eleven. If that’s the only concern, I can assure everybody that won’t be an issue,” he told WMAL’s “Drive at Five” radio show.
Why is it a problem if children see guns on the wall of a gun store? What will happen? Little children can’t purchase guns. Will seeing the guns make them violent? Will it make them want to shoot people? Such is the logic of the gun-grabber.
Is Newton also worried about all the junk food children see on the shelves at the 7-11? We have record levels of obesity in America after all. How about the beer and alcohol at 7-11 and the grocery stores? Will children become alcoholics once their little eyes feast on the six packs and boxed wine?
Gates is willing to work with concerned residents, offering to tint the windows of the store so the children don’t see the firearms. He also doesn’t allow children under the age of 17 in the store if they are unaccompanied by an adult.
“We have the right to legally sell firearms and they can legally protest. We want to be a part of the community. I am willing to find a common ground to make everybody happy,” Gates told radio host Larry O’Connor last week.
No word yet if the opposition is willing to meet with Gates and work out a mutually agreeable deal.
Here is a copy of Newton’s petition:
There are reports that the former Curves storefront at 2105 N. Pollard Street, in a small strip mall along Lee Highway, will be occupied by a gun shop. We, the citizens of Arlington County, oppose a gun shop at this location. We are alarmed that the shop is within 2 blocks of an Arlington County Public School that houses the HB Woodlawn Program and Stratford Program. Further, two elementary schools (Taylor and Arlington Science Focus), are only blocks away. Four additional schools are within 5 miles: Washington-Lee High School, St. Agnes, Key Elementary, and Glebe Elementary.
It is unconscionable, in an era where our children are forced to practice “lock down” drills designed to train them how to protect themselves from armed intruders, to locate a gun shop anywhere in the vicinity of schools. The fear of armed intruders permeates their education, and placing a shop that sells guns and/or ammunition within immediate distance of schools is confusing to students at best, and sparks fears of access to them at school at worst.
We call on the owner of the shop to exercise concern for the community, and most particularly its youngest and most vulnerable residents, and cease any action that would allow a gun shop to occupy the space.
Please also express your concern to your local elected officials –
I, for one, will be driving out of my way to give Mr. Gates my business should he be allowed to open his store.
H/T Heather Smith