The John Jovino Gun Shop in New York City’s Little Italy neighborhood has been around for 109 years. But that long run has come to an end. The combination of the city’s coronavirus shutdown, high rent payments ad the city’s generally difficult business climate has forced the store to close forever.
As Untapped New York reports . . .
The shop has been owned by the Imperatio Family, who purchased it off the namesake, John Jovino, in the 1920s. Charlie Hu, aka “Gun King Charlie,” has been running the store in 1995. The store has been featured in many New York City-based films like Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets.
Mr. Hu gave an in depth interview to Jeremiah Moss of Vanishing New York, which claims John Jovino was the oldest gun store in the country.
“All my life,” [Hu] said, “I’ve never taken a vacation or a sick day. I never had any violations. And now this is the end of the world. My whole life went into this.”
As he put away the many awards he received over the years, tears rolled down his cheeks and into his mask. It was not his choice to close the shop. This is not how he wanted it to end.
The rent, he said, is the number one reason for closing. And then the coronavirus, shutting down business. There’s also the trouble with regulations, the slow-down in shipments of ammunition, and people buying on the Internet instead of from their local shop. Finally, Charlie said, “I’m old, I’m 74 years old, I was born in 1946, I am old.”
On Monday we wrote about the Westside Rifle and Pistol Range, the only one in borough of Manhattan. The range is fighting for its life, too, unable to generate any revenue until the city begins to reopen, but still obligated to pay rent. It may only be a matter of time before the city is scrubbed of all of its firearm-related businesses, a development that would suit city fathers just fine.