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Arlington residents torn over potential gun shop

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ARLINGTON, Va. (WJLA) - A local community is torn over fears that a gun shop is potentially moving to their Arlington neighborhood.

The controversy centers around a shopping center on Shirlington Road near the Army-Navy Country Club.

“This is my family, this is my community,” says Joan Cooper. 

Once a community organizer for the Arlington County Police Department, Cooper remembers the days when she and others would run anti-drug patrols right on Shirlington Road. 

Cooper is one of hundreds of residents in Arlington’s Nauck community who don't  want to see a gun shop move in. She began a petition and has collected eight signatures.

“It could be the worst thing that ever happened to our community, the worst thing,” she says.

An online petition has a few hundred signatures.

Not only are residents concerned because of nearby churches and schools, they’re also concerned because they say the gun shop will set back the community, a community that has been improving for years.

“I’ve seen the place change tremendously but in a positive way,” Cooper says.

ABC7 called the number listed for the property owners. The man who answered said a gun store was not moving, but that he couldn’t comment further.

At the decades-old Majestic Barber Shop, there's not too much opposition.

“It don’t really bother me as long as we have some businesses open,” says Cary Whittenberg.

Harvey Kinston has lived in the community since 1947.

“I don’t have a problem with the gun shop per se. I might have a problem with the kind of weapons they sell out of it.”

A patron of the same barber shop since his 30s, at 81, Kinston says the landlord has the right to rent out the space to anyone.

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