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West Rehoboth gun shop a bad idea

July 5, 2013

Over the past several decades, West Rehoboth has been a community plagued by unfettered drug dealing and violence, including shootings and murder.

The unincorporated community of relatively poor people who have long filled a variety of jobs in neighboring and afflu­ent Rehoboth Beach has, for the most part, been hard pressed to get much assistance in addressing its chronic problems. Absentee property owners have often let their lots grow over and become havens for litter and cover for illicit activities. Sussex County has rarely stepped in to enforce unkempt property ordinances.

In recent years, groups have formed to help West Rehoboth arise from the shadows of its past. Many cleanup efforts have resulted in an improved community with after-school programs for children and a developing pride in the historic roots of this predominantly African-American enclave.

Now comes news that a gun shop will open on Hebron Road, the community’s main street. West Rehoboth can’t get much police presence from Delaware State Police or even an occasional pass-through by Rehoboth Beach cruisers, but it can get a gun shop?

There’s nothing illegal about the proposed gun shop, but it’s just plainly a bad idea for the West Rehoboth community, and it’s hard to believe that most people don’t see it that way.

Rehoboth Beach for once should show a little big-brotherly protective attitude toward its disadvantaged neighbor. The mayor and commissioners should pass a resolution op­posing the opening of the proposed gun shop and bring whatever pressure they can mus­ter to dissuade the owner from pursuing the plans.

In a neighborhood where the past century has delivered a disproportionate share of instability and volatility - especially one mak­ing great strides to become a safer and more nurturing place for children and families - the last thing it needs is a constant reminder of violence and more convenient and ready ac­cess to firearms and ammunition.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Dave Frederick, sports editor.