The New York Times reports that Louis Zacchio opened a gun store named L & L Sports in the tony NYC suburb of Harrison, New York. We noted the local kerfuffle it caused. Needless to say, The Times story focuses on the extreme case of the vapors that some Westchester County denizens are suffering as a result of this little culture war setback.
Author Lisa Foderaro details some of the constitutionally-offensive steps that locals have taken to try to stop a law-abiding person with an FFL from opening up a gun store so close to the heart of plutocrat Michael Bloomberg’s evil empire — from a petition, to zoning laws, to outright defiance of the Constitution.
When Louis Zacchio, a longtime gun enthusiast and hunter, decided to open a gun shop in the downtown business district here, which is dotted with ice cream parlors, karate dojos and pizza places, he figured fellow residents would do a double-take. He never expected an uprising.
But more than 3,300 people have signed a petition objecting to the store’s location. And a recent town-hall-style meeting drew angry outbursts and tearful tirades from parents and teachers….
“I think you should consider how these children are feeling when they have to hide in a closet during a lockdown drill,” Nicole Marciano, a special-education teacher with a child in the school district, told a panel of local officials. “A gun store here is absolutely absurd.”
The Harrison town attorney [rightly] pointed out that if the town tried to stop Mr. Zacchio from setting up a gun store, it risked a losing civil rights law suit. Some residents wanted to double-down anyway.
[O]ne resident implored the town’s board members to risk being sued. Another pointed out that Harrison requires a permit for the sale of secondhand merchandise, which Mr. Zacchio, who plans to sell used guns, had not obtained. (The town attorney vowed to pursue the lead and Mr. Zacchio has since applied for such a permit.) Michele Geller, a small-business owner and mother of two, urged local officials to put a referendum on the store before the town’s 27,000 residents. “I don’t see this as a Second Amendment issue,” she said. “I see this as a community lifestyle issue.”
Yes, a lifestyle choice. Haven’t we heard some other arguments suggesting that one’s choice of lifestyle, if not hurting others, should be allowed, indeed, actively defended? Must have been my imagination.
Patrick Egan, a professor at NYU, called it straight here: “The reaction is not unlike the kinds of responses that, say, an abortion clinic would get if it tried to open in rural Mississippi.”
Yes, it probably is, although in the latter case, we would certainly be seeing greater outrage from newspapers based in coastal enclaves, not a one-off article below the fold.
Perhaps the better analogy here is the massive resistance to the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas case that Democrats (what is it with Democrats and constitutional rights?) led in the 1950s and 60s.
If the supposedly liberally-minded people of Westchester County don’t like these comparisons, too bad. I see no reason for us to indulge their hubristic fantasy that they’re somehow on the side of angels on this one. They should look in the mirror the next time they point fingers.
Fortunately, even some people in New York agree. Ms. Foderaro somehow managed to find people who were either pro-gun, or just didn’t care what Mr. Zacchio did with his money and time if it wasn’t bothering them.
“It’s a legitimate business and as long as he follows all of the rules and regulations, then why not?” said one. “By and large the general public doesn’t have to worry about the individual who goes into that store to buy a gun….[T]he great majority of crimes are committed with firearms that are not legally purchased.” said another.
Mr. Zacchio has found that a lot of locals are supportive of him.
“The only phone calls I received are from people showing support,” Mr. Zacchio said. “No one has called to ask questions. I figured I would at least get the ‘Hey, go to hell’ call.
If our nation is ever to heal its divisions which were laid bare during this presidential campaign, we need to find new ways to get along and live together. As hard as it is for a person of the gun to live in the Empire State these days, Mr. Zacchio’s enterprise, just by showing the flag, is helping.
Robert Cialdini, a nationally-recognized expert on persuasion (and whose books you should really go out and read,) writes in his recent book, Pre-Suasion how much just being in proximity to others can prime them for persuasion:
Our ability to create change in others is often and importantly grounded in shared personal relationships, which create a pre-suasive context for assent. It’s a poor trade-off, then, for social influence when we allow present-day forces of separation—distancing societal changes, insulating modern technologies—to take a shared sense of human connection out of our exchanges….
The relationships that lead people to favor another most effectively are not those that allow them to say, “Oh, that person is like us.” They are the ones that allow people to say, “Oh, that person is of us.”
By fighting the good fight in their home communities, Mr. Zacchio and millions of gun owners like him are agents of change. Will New Yorkers one day see an ordinary American with a firearm and say “that person is one of us”? Time will tell.