We’ve seen a lot of NIMBYism directed at gun shops over the past few years. From Newton, Massachusetts to Redwood City, California anti-gun Karens (though maybe we should start calling them “Shannons” instead) have been trying to block gun stores from opening or, failing that, trying to get them shut down because they hate the idea of firearms being sold in their communities.
All too often the Shannons have won at least temporary victories, but thankfully that doesn’t appear to be the case in Wayne, New Jersey, where Gregory Mazloom opened his Hawkeye Firearms shop back in March. Mazloom apparently managed to fly under the radar of local anti-gunners for several months, but his retail location has now drawn the belated ire of at least one local anti-gunner.
During this past town council meeting, resident June Fisher-Markowitz addressed the town council and asked how this came about.
“I just found out some news this week that was a bit disturbing,” she said. “I just would like to know if anybody can explain how this happened – that we ended up getting a gun shop down in the Mountain View section of Wayne.”
She brought up an example of a “potential legal marijuana shop” that had “so much discussion about it.”
“There were meetings about it, there were arguments about it, there were pros and cons and finally a vote was taken, and it was not passed,” she said. “Now all of a sudden, there’s a gun shop in Wayne and this happened without any public discourse or any openness about it. I would like to know how this happened.”
According to the mayor Wayne, the reason for that is simple.
During that meeting Mayor Chris Vergano replied: “Gun shops are regulated by the state of New Jersey. They are permitted in our business district, so there’s no vote. They came in for a zoning permit – just like if you were opening any other type of store that’s permitted in the business district – I think if you were a Carvel or a dress shop, or you were selling lottery tickets, you would apply for a zoning permit. If it is permitted in that zone, then you get the zoning permit. The portion about the guns is all regulated by the state of New Jersey.”
TAPinto reached out to Township Planner Chris Kok for more detail on the process.
“So, let’s take a step back and pull the gun shop out of the equation for now,” said Kok. “You have a commercial building, and you have a new tenant coming in. What is the process? The process is you fill out a commercial zoning permit application, then the zoning officer reviews to see if the use is permitted and makes sure that there are no changes in parking calculations that would require a variance or anything that requires a site plan. If everything checks out that permit is issued. It’s an administrative process.”
As far as public notices, that only kicks in if the township is dealing with site plans, subdivisions and variances, according to Kok. Since none of that was involved, there was no public notice needed for the opening of a gun store in Wayne.
It’s hard to believe that there’s a New Jersey gun law that’s proving to be at least somewhat beneficial to firearm owners or retailers, but that appears to be the case… at least for now. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see one or more Democratic lawmakers introduce legislation next year that would give localities all kinds of leeway to block gun stores or ranges from opening for business, but for the moment there’s not much the Shannons can do to stop Mazloom or others from operating a retail location, which is as it should be.
While the complaints of the Shannons have mostly fallen on deaf ears, it’s still worth pointing out that none of New Jersey’s many restrictions on the sale and possession of firearms are enough to convince Fisher-Markowitz (and presumably others) that they’re actually working to keep guns away from bad actors. The Firearms ID requirement and handgun purchase permit required for every would-be gun buyer can take months to receive, but even that intense scrutiny doesn’t satisfy the ardent anti-gunners among us, who want nothing less than a complete prohibition on gun purchases and gun stores in general. They’re not aiming for “common sense regulation” but the utter annihilation of our Second Amendment rights.