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Neighborhood group leader fights gun shop in HotSpot area

June 19, 2002|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

The president of a neighborhood group told the Hagerstown City Council Tuesday that it is concerned about a gun shop opening up in the Hagerstown HotSpot area, but city officials said there was nothing the city could do to stop it.

A gun shop is not the type of business the area needs, said Greg Hannigan, chairman of the Neighborhoods First Broadway-North Group, which has 30 active members and represents 600 people.

He expressed concern someone would break in to the business, which is to be in the 600 block of Potomac Avenue, to steal guns.

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"It is a very unwelcome addition to our neighborhood," he said. It will also be an eyesore, he said.

Hannigan said the new business would be the second gun shop in the HotSpot area, a designated high-crime area.

The city does not have any laws that would prevent a gun shop from opening in an area zoned commercial, as is the case with the shop, Economic Development Coordinator Deborah Everhart said.

Hannigan said the city should look into having some kind of restrictions on where gun shops can be opened.

Katharine Mackley, who also lives in the area, said she was worried about raising three children close to a gun shop.

"It will attract the wrong kind of person to the neighborhood," including drug dealers and other criminals, she said.

Police Chief Arthur Smith said city police will watch the business carefully.

HotSpot Coordinator Carolyn Brooks said she is concerned.

"It is not the type of business you want to see in any community, especially not in a HotSpot community," Brooks said.

Having a gun shop in the area might hurt efforts to reduce the number of guns in the community, she said.

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