Gadfly Moon by Holiday Mathis

Dedham residents are calling on local officials to stop a gun shop from moving into town next month mainly due to its proximity to a playground.

J&J Arms is scheduled to open at 224 Bussey Street in Dedham, approximately 500 feet from Condon Park and less than a mile from three public schools.

Residents packed into a planning board meeting Thursday to protest the store and the danger they say it poses to the community.

“There was a lot of opposition,” said Planning Department Administrative Assistant Jennifer Doherty. “Children’s safety was the main concern.”

The shop’s website says that it will open in September, though it did not list an official date.

J&J Arms has followed all state and federal requirements to obtain the necessary licensing and there are no zoning laws in place that prevent the store from opening, Doherty said. Even if town officials were able to pass new zoning laws, Doherty said J&J Arms wouldn’t be affected because their location would be grandfathered in.

Intent on preventing the store from opening regardless, nearly 3,000 residents have signed an online petition as of Friday morning requesting the owner “cease any action that would allow a gun shop to occupy the space.”

“It is unconscionable, in an era where our children are forced to practice ‘lock down’ drills designed to train them how to protect themselves from armed intruders, to locate a gun shop anywhere in the vicinity of schools,” the petition, started by Anna Kijas, reads.

The shop’s online catalog offers a range of rifles, handguns and shotguns, as well as ammunition, optics and other accessory items.

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