Gun Shop Opening in Arlington Has Neighbors Divided

A gun store is set to open in the Cherrydale neighborhood of Arlington – and some neighbors are up in arms over whether the business belongs.

NOVA Firearms, which has a location in McLean, has signed a five-year lease for a storefront at 2105 N. Pollard St., in a strip mall along Lee Highway. The business owned by U.S. Marine Corps veteran James Gates is slated to open this summer, but more than 2,200 people have signed an online petition asking the building's landlord to reconsider the deal.

Jane Winter, who works at the flower shop next door to the vacant storefront, said NOVA doesn't fit in to the strip mall that includes a restaurant, hair salon and nail salon.

"People come here for beauty, they come here for peace, they come here for a meal," she said. "If you want to open a gun shop, do it elsewhere."

The Arlington Falls Church Young Republicans are urging locals to support NOVA. "We can't remain silent while Arlington liberals push their radical anti-gun agenda," the group wrote in a note to supporters.

Arlington resident Earl Douglas said he would welcome NOVA to the neighborhood.

"A lot of times before you purchase something you like to check it out and touch it and feel it," he said." Guns are the same."

NOVA manager Rachel Dresser said the vacant space, which was previously home to a Curves fitness center, would be ideal for the gun shop.

"[It's] a nice amount of space, a perfect, wide-open showroom," she said.

The landlord didn't respond to an inquiry, but employees said he's looking for a way out of the deal.

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