According to philly.com columnist Kevin Riordan, DyAnn DiSalvo is an unobservant, self-absorbed children’s book author and illustrator living in Merchantville, New Jersey (“a quaint Camden County borough of about 3,800, Merchantville is best known for Victorian architecture”). Actually, Riordan doesn’t describe her as unobservant and self-absorbed. That’s just the obvious conclusion drawn from reading of her outrage at looking up one day recently and noticing that her small town just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia now sports a gun store. And that it’s been there for over a year. Which means that something must be done about this. Now.
“I was completely startled when I saw a sign saying ‘firearms and ammunition,’ ” says DiSalvo, who has lived in the borough for 10 years and is the mother of two grown children. “I thought, ‘Why is there a gun store here?’ “
Being a Brooklyn, New York native, DyAnn’s probably more accustomed to an idyllic, gun-free atmosphere where suddenly coming upon a gun store in your neighborhood would be about as likely (and as welcome) as finding a newly established combination methadone clinic/hazardous waste disposal center had opened down the street. As the title to the piece ominously indicates, the store’s mere existence…raises questions. And more sympathetic to DiSalvo’s concerns, columnist Riordan could not be.
Firearms pervade our culture; they make some people feel secure and others afraid. Many people have no interest in owning (much less firing) one. And we’d rather not live near a commercial establishment that supplies folks who do.
But DyAnn doesn’t like what the gun store, RayCo Armory, says about her little burgh to unsuspecting visitors.
“Here’s the ‘Welcome to Merchantville’ sign, there’s the elementary school, there’s the fried chicken, and there’s the gun shop,” says DiSalvo, who grew up in Brooklyn. “Welcome to Merchantville!”
So DiSalvo’s begun a letter-writing campaign to make sure her senses aren’t assaulted again in this manner.
“Business is business, but they need to be regulated into certain areas – business areas,” she says. “This is a residential area.
“Merchantville . . . needs to wake up. We need to change the zoning laws.”
DiSalvo obviously believes that certain types of undesirable retail enterprises need to be confined to ghettos so they don’t affront the sensibilities of decent people. The LEOs and hunters who frequent RayCo just aren’t the kind of patrons DyAnn thinks are suitable to be readily seen by polite society.
But rather than amending the town’s zoning laws and changing the way Merchantville licenses and locates lawful businesses, there may be another solution. Perhaps RayCo, local gun enthusiasts, second amendment advocates and other lovers of free enterprise could take up a collection and offer to move DyAnn out of Merchantville to another town where her delicate sensibilities won’t be assaulted on a regular basis by the presence of a gun store and its reprobate customers. If, that is, they can find another town that’s willing to have her.