Hundreds protest firearms being sold near school in McLean
MCLEAN, Va. (WUSA9) -- The opening of a new gun store in McLean brought out angry parents and neighbors with signs and bullhorns. It's not so much what they're selling as it is where.
Nova Firearms on Chain Bridge Road in McLean is the largest Virginia gun shop inside the Beltway. The problem for some parents, neighbors, school and political leaders is, see that building so close by? It's an elementary school.
“I'm very concerned that they chose to put a gun store in the backyard of a grade school,” Delegate Kathleen Murphy said. “I think it's an outrage.”
“It is what it is,” owner, JB Gates said. “I can't stop them they are exercising their right to free speech which we understand we are exercising our right to carry and we are exercising our right to open a legal business where we can.”
Gates said his business outgrew its original store less than a mile away and this will be their brand new larger space. A space just yards away from the back of Franklin Sherman Elementary School.
“It is a grade school and yes we understand we are in the backyard but in this industry it's really hard to find a landlord that is gun friendly,” Gates said.
Gates said he tried to open a new space in Arlington, but public pressure led the landlord there to pull out.
It is legal for his store to be in the proximity to the school.
“We are hoping that we can encourage this store owner to go back to the store that he already has about three blocks away,” Janie Strauss, School Board Representative said ”Locating a gun store right next to a school that holds 400 children is ridiculous. Our children deserve better than this.”
As of now, the store will remain open. Gates said they don't just sell guns, they also have classroom facilities for safety instruction.
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