CONCERNED ARLINGTONIANS OPPOSE
“The Largest Selection of Firearms Inside the D.C. Beltway”
A group of concerned citizens living in Arlington, VA, is opposed to the opening of a large gun shop, NOVA Armory, moving into a small retail area in the Lyon Park neighborhood, which is composed primarily of schools, homes and parks. Our bi-partisan group includes 2nd Amendment Rights supporters and both residents and business owners. More than 3,600 people have signed a petition registering their opposition.
Lyon Park residents learned of the opening from a local online newspaper, with no warning from the County and with very little time for recourse.
As of February 24, the NOVA Armory website advertised itself as guaranteeing DC, Maryland and Virginia residents “the lowest priced firearms” anywhere and promised “You will be able to handle hundreds of firearms without the need for a salesperson….By having accounts with nearly every firearm manufacturer and distributor, NOVA Armory has immediate access to $300 million of inventory.” The website touted “Basically, if it’s got a trigger, we probably have it & we have it at the lowest possible price.” The store website boasted it would have “the largest selection of Class 1 and Class III weapons inside the DC Beltway. Under law, Class III weapons can include machine guns, short barrel rifles and shot guns, silencers, and destructive devices.
Upon learning of citizens’ opposition to the store, all references to Class III weapons were removed from the website and a more sophisticated PR approach became apparent. The website was revamped to portray the shop as a quaint place to buy skeet, trap and hunting arms. The website has undergone another overhaul and now claims that the store "will specialize in high-end sporting and self defense arms and accessories." The store website continues to advertise their offer of concealed carry permits and permit classes, but have since removed a statement encouraging class participants to bring their guns.
Despite denials to the Washington Post, NOVA Armory and Broadstone Security, LLC (the apparent legal entity behind NOVA Armory) appear to be affiliated with the gun store, NOVA Firearms, which failed to open last year in Cherrydale and is now located in McLean adjacent to Franklin Sherman Elementary School. According to the Virginia State Corporation Commission, the legal entity behind NOVA Armory has the exact same principal office address as the address given by ATF for the Federal Firearms Licensee for NOVA Firearms: 909 W Broad St #2, Falls Church, VA 22046.
NOVA Armory is slated to move into 2300 Pershing Drive in Arlington, VA 22201. The three-story building includes restaurants, an army recruiting center, and offices. A daycare/after-school program is located across the street along with several other eateries, a small market, and a yoga studio and salons. The federal Gun Free School Zone Act restricts the possession of firearms within a “school zone.” The legality of the weapons store location vis-a-vis the daycare is still being investigated. Children from the daycare facilities are a stone’s throw away and are taken on walks in front of the storefront every day. An elementary school and a Montessori school are located less than a ½-mile away and a handful of other schools are within a one-mile radius. The storefront is within a densely populated residential neighborhood. Parking is limited and located close to a dense intersection (Route 50).
NOVA Armory plans to move into the neighborhood on March 26. Arlington County has approved the operation’s business and zoning permits and notes that, “Firearms shops cannot be regulated individually under code of Virginia §15.2-915.”
We oppose the opening of a weapons armory in our residential neighborhood for several reasons:
Safety and Community Values. This is about our community, not about the 2nd amendment. We are taking issue with locating a shop that purveys guns within close range of schools, parks and homes. 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. The fear of armed intruders in schools is real, and placing a shop that sells guns and/or ammunition within immediate distance of schools sends a conflicting message. In addition, the store is a mere 5 minutes from the DC border. According to the Center for American Progress, Virginia is considered one of the nation’s top exporters of crime guns.
Local Businesses. The small Pershing Drive commercial area is just beginning to thrive with small shops that primarily serve the neighborhood. A large weapons armory may discourage neighborhood retail traffic and hurt local businesses. Parking is also extremely limited. A similar shop sought to open in another Arlington neighborhood but, after vociferous opposition from other tenants in the shopping center, the lease was terminated.
Quality of Life. A weapons armory will not improve the quality of life in a community that is walkable, densely populated, and full of families and children. There is concern that a firearms store may negatively affect property values and anecdotal evidence already indicates that some homebuyers who were previously interested in the Lyon Park neighborhood are now looking elsewhere because of the gun store.
OUR CALL TO ACTION
We call on the owner of the building and the gun shop to exercise concern for the community, and most particularly its youngest and most vulnerable residents, and work with the community to find a tenant that is a positive addition to the Pershing Drive retail corridor and the neighborhood.
Help us protect our community by:
Signing the petition: http://tinyurl.com/Act4LyonPark
Contacting your Arlington County Board Members: firstname.lastname@example.org
Spreading the word among your local schools, churches, stores, neighbors
Signing up to volunteer at: Act4LyonPark@gmail.com
Using our hashtag: #Act4LyonPark
FOR MORE INFORMATION