Kids pulled out of Va. school after threats about gun store protest

Fear and intimidation surrounding a gun store's new location in Mclean has led some families of a nearby school to take drastic measures.

MCLEAN, Va. (WUSA9) -- The McLean Citizens Association Board will hold a meeting on Wednesday, October 7 at 7:30p.m., on how to "deal with" the new location of NOVA Firearms in McLean. 

This meeting comes after protesting against a gun store that opened near an elementary school in McLean led some parents to pull their kids out of the school because of threats they've received about the protest.

According to Fairfax County School Board Member Janie Strauss, at least two students at Franklin Sherman Elementary School have been pulled out of the school because of threats against their parents that stem from the protest.

"Our parents are frightened, as a school board member, I am frightened," Strauss said.

The fear doesn't seem to be impacting business for Nova Firearms, which opened almost two weeks ago behind the school amidst protests. On Tuesday, the store welcomed a steady stream of customers.

The woman who organized the protest says she's being attacked on Fairfax Underground, an online message board for Fairfax County residents.

"They made threats against her family, they've printed her address and they're saying really incredibly horrible things," Delegate Kathleen Murphy (D-34) said. 

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Murphy and Strauss say two families have pulled their kids out of the school because of threats. 

"This is commercial property.Franklin Sherman is bordered on two sides by commercial properties. This is not an appropriate place for a gun store," Strauss said. 

Strauss says it would be hard to distinguish between someone who is legally open carrying a gun on the store's property from a threat. 

"We do background checks, with every sale as require by law and required to keep those records that out there.  We are more regulated than any other industry that's out there," Rachel Dresser, Nova Firearms co-owner, said.

Dresser says the store had nothing to do with the intimidating posts but said that the other site posted the name of the property owner who also owns McLean Automotive Service Center next door. 

"We've never attacked any of the protestors against us. We're for an open dialogue," Dresser said.   

Fairfax County Supervisor John Foust, who serves McLean, says there's an effort underway to find a new location.  But the owners of Nova Firearms tell WUSA9 that they like their new location and because they just moved, it would be difficult to pick up and go somewhere else. 

During their search for a larger space earlier this year, Nova Firearms had tried to set up shop in Arlington County, but residents there prevented the move. 

Delegate Marcus Simon (D-53) is writing legislation to allow local governing bodies to prohibit gun stores near schools. Given the Virginia General Assembly's leaning toward pro-gun rights, the measure's passage is unlikely.

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