On November 1, longtime gun enthusiast and 15-year Harrison resident Louis Zacchio held a soft opening for his gun shop on Halstead Avenue in Harrison. Since first hearing about plans for the store mid-September, more than 3,400 people have signed an online petition objecting to the store’s location. The first 1,500 signatures were collected in less than 24 hours.
L&L Sports, Zacchio’s shop, is a full-service shooting-sports retailer occupying the 450-square-foot space formerly held by a learning center at the rear of Harrison Mall, less than 1,000 feet from Parsons Memorial Elementary School.
While this has caused a stir amongst residents, parents, and teachers, many of whom gathered at the town board meeting on November 3 to voice their opinion, Zacchio is apparently not violating any Harrison laws or municipal ordinances. At the town-hall-style meeting, Town Attorney Frank P. Allegretti explained Zacchio “has the right, as anyone else does, to open a store there,” reports The New York Times.
Democratic Representative Nita L. Lowey, also a Harrison resident, is actively outspoken against the store. According to a post on L&L Sports’ Facebook page Lowey is working on an ordinance “which would retroactively make any gun store within a School Zone illegal.”
However, Roy Loewenstein, Press Secretary for Lowey’s office, denies the Congresswoman is introducing any such ordinance explaining that it is out of her jurisdiction as an official of the federal government.
Allegretti said town officials have yet to find any bans on gun stores successfully put into place by a municipality, according to The New York Times. Even Harrison mayor Ron Belmont went on record saying, “there’s nothing to prevent him from opening a store.”
Zacchio, a certified trainer, has held a state and federal license to sell firearms for 18 years, having previously sold firearms online. Additionally, he has expressed his commitment to promoting the safe use of firearms, planning to cater to hunters and target shooters living in the county. NRA-certified safety classes will be offered at his shop.
“No matter when a firearm leaves my store, it leaves with a gun lock,” he told The New York Times. “If you bring a firearm here for me to repair or sell, it has to be in a case and unloaded.”
Correction: Our version of this article posted yesterday did not reflect the statement from Lowey’s Press Secretary.