NOVA Firearms, which was located directly behind the Franklin Sherman Elementary School on Chain Bridge Road, has left McLean for Falls Church.
Hundreds of people protested outside of the store when it first opened in September 2015 because of its location.
Victoria Manoogian of McLean, who organized the protest two years ago, started a Change.org petition, “Keep Nova Firearms out of Franklin Sherman Elementary’s Backyard,” which received 2,638 supporters out of its goal to reach 5,000 supporters.
Though opponents of the firearms store lost the battle, they were relieved to hear the store was relocating.
“We are relieved that the gun store is moving out of the building next to Franklin Sherman Elementary School,” Jane Strauss, who represents the Dranesville District on the Fairfax County Public School Board and was a past president of the elementary school’s parent-teacher association, wrote in an email. “Many parents of students were very uncomfortable with a store so close to the school and playground.”
Strauss demonstrated outside of the shop two years ago. John Foust, who represents the Dranesville District on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, also showed up to protest two years ago. He was also glad to see the gun retailer move its brick and mortar store.
“I believe it’s inappropriate to operate a gun shop next door to an elementary school,” Foust wrote in email. “I and other community leaders tried to stop the gun shop from opening next to the Franklin Sherman Elementary School. Unfortunately, state and federal law did not support our efforts and the owner refused to voluntarily consider moving the gun shop to another site. That was very disappointing. Two years later, I am pleased to hear that the McLean gun shop has closed and re-located from the school site.”
The Connection was unable to secure an interview with representatives of NOVA Firearms.
THE GUN RETAILER’S new location at 412 W. Broad St. in Falls Church is no stranger to firearms. Since 2012, the spot was home to The Gun Dude, which sold firearms, espresso and coffee, until it closed on Aug. 31.
“By now you have likely heard that The Gun Dude is closing its Falls Church location as of Aug. 31,” Joshua Karrasch, the owner of the store, posted on the home page of TheGunDude.com. “It has been our pleasure to serve the Northern Virginia firearms community and we wish you the best in the future.”
Karrasch listed his espresso maker, coffee grinder and accessories for sale on Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for $3,000. He also listed a refrigerator for sale.
“I need some help selling these items to cover debts as we close,” said an Aug. 30 post from The Gun Dude Facebook page.
Coordination with the government is required to run a firearms business.
The Virginia Department of State Police developed the Virginia Firearms Transaction Program in 1989 to enforce legal mandates involving the sale and possession of firearms with licensed firearms dealers in the commonwealth.
All firearms sellers and employees in Virginia are required by law to submit to a national and state criminal history record information check by the Department of State Police and Federal Bureau of Investigation in order to be issued an Employee Identification Number (EIN) by the Department of State Police.
Licensed firearms dealers are also required by law to perform a criminal history record information check on their customers prior to the sale, trade or transfer of a firearm, according to the Virginia Department of State Police.
Sellers can conduct these checks on prospective purchasers over the Internet through the Department of State Police’s VCheck system or by calling the Virginia Firearms Transaction Program’s 800-telephone number. For sellers to enroll in the VCheck system, they must complete a Firearms Dealer Registration application, Form SP-69, and submit a completed fingerprint card to the Virginia Firearms Transaction Program. Dealers who have a valid federal firearms license issued by the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency may submit a sworn and notarized affidavit to the Department of State Police with a Firearms Seller Exemption Request, Form SP-69B, in lieu of submitting fingerprints, according to the Department of State Police.
There are also age restrictions for those who want to buy guns.
TO PURCHASE OR POSSESS a firearm in Virginia, a person must be at least 18 years old, according to the Virginia Department of State Police. To purchase a handgun from a licensed firearms dealer, a person must be at least 21 years old, pursuant to federal law.
Virginia law does not address age requirements for purchasing ammunition, but federal law requires that an individual must be at least 21 years old to purchase handgun ammunition and at least 18 years old to purchase rifle or shotgun ammunition, according to the Virginia Department of State Police.
Machine guns in the commonwealth are required by law to be registered with the Department of State Police within 24 hours of acquisition. A certificate of registration is issued once the Machine Gun Registration Application, Form SP-115, is completed. Failure to do so is a Class 3 misdemeanor, which is punishable by a fine of up to $500, but no jail time.