Officials implored to intercede on gun shop

July 5, 2013

The following letter was sent to Michael H. Vincent, president, Sussex County Council; Attorney General Beau Biden and the Department of Justice, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms with copies to Rep. Pete Schwartzkopf, Sen. Ernesto Lopez, Sen. Gary Simpson and a copy submitted to the Cape Gazette for publication.

The West Rehoboth Community Land Trust is writing to express its deep concern at an application for the sale of firearms and gun smithing on Hebron Road in the community of West Rehoboth, a low-income neighborhood adjacent to Rehoboth Beach. Our goal since 2005 has been to provide decent, affordable housing in this primarily African-American historic community.

Hebron Road provides the major access to West Rehoboth. Although lots are zoned commercial, it is not an active commercial area. Major access is from a service road paralleling Route One. There are many young children who live in this community. The very name of the commercial venture, “Delaware Firearms, LLC”, indicates its major activity. We believe such a store is destructive and harmful to the residents of West Rehoboth. The revitalization plan for West Rehoboth actually expresses the hope for a combination laundromat/convenience store.

Because the community is in need of the continued effort to renew and revitalize the community, special effort was made to procure two grants from the Criminal Justice Council. One made possible four security cameras strategically located and has proven beneficial with a lowered crime rate. The second grant proided a program for the children emphasizing healthy choices and ways to combat bullying.

West Rehoboth does not need nor should the community have to incur the negative effects of a gun shop that could influence the reintroduction of gun violence and increased crime in their midst.

Despite the permitted use aspect of this application, what also must be factors are site location and the impact on an established residential community. The West Rehoboth Community Land Trust respectfully requests that, after careful consideration, this application for sale of firearms and gun smithing be denied.

Elizabeth Doty
president, West Rehoboth Community Land Trust

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