A new citizens activist group, Falls Church Families for Gun Store Free School Zones, has close to 200 supporters on its group Facebook page in the past week following news that a second gun store intends to open at 909 W. Broad Street in Falls Church, this one across from St. James School.
The application for the business, NOVA Firearms, has been received by the Falls Church Commissioner of the Revenue Tom Clinton’s office which now has it under review. The News-Press was provided a copy of a letter from an attorney representing JM Custom Protection Services, LLC (NOVA Firearms) to Clinton’s office late Tuesday, citing state code and cautioning the office to provide the business permit forthwith.
Attorney George L. Lyon wrote Clinton, “Whether the rejection of my client’s business license results from malfeasance by your office or the undue influence of third parties, we will hold you, the City of Falls Church and such outsiders liable. I strongly advise you to issue the business permit immediately.”
The citizens’ Facebook page states, “We are the concerned parents, parishioners, and community members of Falls Church, Va., united against the proposed location for NOVA Firearms.”
NOVA Firearms was originally located in the City in space now occupied by The Gun Dude, above Bedo’s Leatherworks at 412 W. Broad. NOVA Firearms relocated to McLean in September of 2013.
With The Gun Dude and NOVA Firearms stores located within blocks of one another at highly visible locations along the heavily-trafficked W. Broad Street (Route 7) corridor, local citizens have expressed frustration over the fact that, by law, both are legitimate businesses and have every right to conduct their businesses at the locations of their choosing.
But NOVA Firearms’ location on Chain Bridge Rd. has been met with opposition from many in the community concerned with its proximity to Sherman Elementary School. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors member John Foust has stated he would like to see the store relocate.
In Falls Church, it is the proximity of the new NOVA Firearms location to the St. James School that has many concerned.
According to its webpage, NOVA Firearms is a retail gun shop that offers 400-600 of the most popular Class 1 and Class 3 firearms and accessories. Its website offers over 50,000 of the latest firearms and accessories that typically can be delivered to their shop within 2-3 business days with free shipping. A Class 3 firearm is special category includes machine guns, destructive devices such as grenades, and sound suppressors/silencers.
At the Falls Church City Council meeting Monday night, the Council added to its wish list of legislation it asked to be carried by its delegation to Richmond “legislation that authorizes the City to adopt an ordinance prohibiting an individual from knowingly possessing any firearm while such person is in a school zone, which is defined as the area within a distance of 1,000 feet of a school.”
It was noted that already a “federal gun-free school zones act…creates a 1,000 foot gun free perimeter around schools.”
State Del. Marcus Simon was present to receive the City’s legislative package. In another “ask” from the City in the legislative package it unanimously adopted Monday, the Council said it “supports state legislation to allow the City to adopt an ordinance prohibiting the possession of firearms and other dangerous weapons in any City owned or publicly leased property or facility, including recreational facilities and libraries, City administrative offices, and the meeting rooms where Council and other boards and commissions formally meet to conduct the City’s business.”
It was noted that while Virginia law generally prohibits firearms and other dangerous weapons to be carried in places of worship, courthouses and schools, the general prohibition does not extend to public facilities such as City-owned libraries, recreational centers or meeting halls, even as Virginia law allows private property owners to prohibit a person from bringing dangerous weapons onto their property.