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Gun Shop Virginia

Residents of Arlington, Virginia — which in 2012 overwhelmingly voted for President Obama and sits directly across the Potomac River from the nation’s capital — are trying to bully Marine Corps veteran James Gates, 28, from opening a gun shop in their neighborhood.

Last week, a petition was formed by local resident Susan Newton protesting the shop’s opening and demanding property owner Kostas Kapasouris renege on his lease to the young veteran. The shop’s grand opening is planned for August.

“We, the citizens of Arlington County, oppose a gun shop at this location, ” the petition at reads, citing the proposed venue is within two blocks of a city school and close to others. “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, ” the petition says.

So far it has collected 1, 741 signatures.

“We thought there [would] maybe [be] a little pushback, but nothing like this, ” said Mr. Gates, who said some community members have been calling him voicing their concerns. “They really don’t know anything about the shop, what it’s going to be — or federal firearms laws for that matter. They’re really shooting first and then asking questions later.”

Mr. Gates served in the Marine Corps security forces from 2004 to 2008, enlisting after he graduated from high school. After completing his service, he bartended at Buffalo Wild Wings in Bowie, Maryland, and tried to figure out what to do with the rest of his life.

That’s where he met Rachel Dresser, a former student at the University of Maryland, and the two decided to get a federal firearms license together — as he knew guns and how to shoot from his time in the service — and she wanted to be her own boss and run her own shop.

Mr. Gates, who also works private security in Virginia, was able to purchase Nova Firearms in McLean, Virginia, last year, and Ms. Dresser signed on to run the books and inventory.

Their business took off, much like the national firearms industry itself.

In April, the American firearms industry said more than 10.8 million guns were manufactured in 2013 — double the total of just three years earlier. Moreover, for the first time in more than two decades, more Americans say that protecting gun rights is more important than controlling gun ownership, 52 percent to 46 percent, according to a Pew Research poll.

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