DEDHAM, Mass. - Dozens of people gathered in Dedham on Sunday to protest the upcoming opening of a gun shop. Those in attendance said it's too close to parks and schools. J & J Arms plans to open in September at 224 Bussey Street.
Those who oppose it said they may not be able to stop its grand opening, but they're hoping to change the laws to prevent future shops from coming to town.
"This is not the right place for a gun store, it just doesn't make any sense," said Adam Satriano of Dedham.
"Children walk by there, they go to this playground, they go to their school," Dot Walsh of Dedham said. "And I'm concerned about the physical and mental health of our children."
Protesters walked from nearby Condon Park to the shop Sunday afternoon in protest.
"This is not a highway, this is not a pass-through, there's a park right here and the store's right there," Satriano said.
There is nothing under current town zoning law that would prevent the shop from opening.
"I'm not opposed to anyone having the right to have a gun, I'm opposed to having a gun shop in the middle of a residential area, even though it is zoned commercially," Walsh said.
It's something many of these residents hope to change with a proposed zoning article that will be considered by voters in November.
But right now, according to the town, J & J Arms has its federal permits and a signed lease. All the owner needs to move forward is a building permit and approval from the police chief.
The shop addressed the controversy on their Facebook page:
It is completely understandable that people may feel it is not the best location or time due to the last few acts of terror in our beloved country to open this type of store. Please rest assured our priority is firearm safety. Children are not allowed to enter the store unless they are accompanied by an adult.
J & J Arms continue to say that they will only sell to those to valid LTC holders that pass required background checks and plan to have security on the premise.
After a meeting with town officials in July, the shop's owner did agree to remove any images of weapons from the signs that will appear outside of the building. The owner of the gun shop also has a meeting set with the police chief on Tuesday.
Boston 25 News tried to reach out to the owner for further comment but have not heard back yet. As of now they are still advertising a grand opening in September.
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