It doesn’t take much for the news media to turn a molehill into a mountain, especially when it comes to anything involving firearms. As long as they can find a couple of folks willing to go on camera with their complaints, news outlets can turn a commonplace activity into something controversial, whether it’s a local Friends of NRA dinner, a gun raffle to raise money for a high school band, or (in this case) a new gun shop opening “within walking distance” of schools.
In the Huntsville suburb of Madison, Alabama, Rocket City Armory is set to open its doors on its brick-and-mortar location. On Facebook, the shop is described as a “firearms repair, custom, and full service gunsmith shop”, but some local anti-gunners are up in arms (so to speak) about its very existence.
“Honestly, I thought it was going to be, I don’t know, a lawyer’s office, a doctor’s office, childcare. Something like that,” said Rebekah Faris, a mother of three. “I was not expecting that at all.”
“To have an armory open right across from my daughter’s preschool is really distressing and not something I expected from such a family-oriented community,” said Lauren Zack, another parent whose 4-year-old attends Primrose.
“I just thought it was in extremely poor taste to put it that close to a school — an elementary school and a daycare,” said Ashley Singleton, a third parent with concerns about the armory.
With Nashville’s deadly school shooting approaching the two-month mark, parents are finding Rocket City Armory’s location crude, fearing the effect it could have on their kids.
“My oldest daughter, she has really struggled with anxiety in regards to the climate in America right now and what’s been happening at schools,” said Faris. “And it’s just been a really anxious thing for her and so I immediately went to that. Of her seeing that. Of her knowing. Because the sign itself has a gun on it.”
Yes, an old-fashioned rifle with a wood stock. You know, the kind of rifle that gun control activists supposedly find acceptable, unlike their more modern counterparts.
I have no reason to doubt that Faris’s daughter is struggling with anxiety (who isn’t these days), but if she’s truly concerned about her kid having a panic attack or being unable to sleep at night because a gun store down the street from her school has a sign with a hunting rifle on it, it’s up to her as a mom to explain that people have a right to own firearms in this country and the vast majority of people who do are safe and responsible with them. There’s no reason to be terrified of a gun store simply opening for business, but rather than try to educate her kids on the reality of gun ownership Faris is playing into those unreasonable fears.
According to WAFF-TV, Faris and the handful of opponents to the gun shop’s location are planning to keep up the pressure on city officials to “see what more can be done about their concerns,” but so far the powers that be say that Rocket City Armory isn’t violating any local zoning ordinances. As we’ve seen in other communities from California to Massachusetts, though, activists are trying to push gun stores out of ordinary retail locations and into the shadows or the less desirable neighborhoods, and a similar fight could be brewing in northern Alabama before long.