Proposed Gun Shop In Newton Causing City Controversy

NEWTON, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Newton's Ward 2 City Councilor Emily Norton said she was taken by surprise when her inbox was flooded with messages from concerned constituents on Thursday.

The issue? A proposed gun shop on Newtonville's busy Washington Street.

Around 4,600 residents had already signed a petition urging city government not to allow the shop to open up by Sunday morning, and a Facebook group created on Thursday called "Stop Gun Sales in Newton" had already attracted more than 1500 people by Sunday.

Opponents of the shop argue it is close to several schools, restaurants and shops.

The City Council and Mayor Ruthanne Fuller have started the process on changing zoning rules to limit where gun shops can operate in the city, and requiring their approval by the City Council.

The Mayor said in a press release that the City cannot stop potential gun shops from opening until a notice of a public hearing about the proposed zoning rules goes up. Zoning rules, she pointed out, are prospective — meaning that if a gun shop opens before the publication of that notice, the City can't make it move.

The Mayor expects publication of the notice between April 26 and May 3.

Councilor Norton, Mayor Fuller, and other city officials have come out against the proposed shop. "I do not support a gun shop on Washington Street in Newtonville - or anywhere in Newton, period," Norton said.

Norton said she has received comments from some residents who believe forcing the gun shop to move or shutter would be treading on residents' Second Amendment rights. "If there's support for this, we will put the restrictions on. If there's not, we won't...People, I think, are just fed up with this Second Amendment right trumping...people's right to live in safety," she said.

WBZ's Suzanne Sausville (@wbzSausville) reports:

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Written by Chaiel Schaffel

(Photo: Getty Images)

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