MCKEESPORT, Pa. — A McKeesport gun shop wants to expand, but some people in the community are saying no.
The gun shop owner is defending his move, saying the expansion will actually help McKeesport.
The shop sits tucked away, wedged in between two buildings on Market Street.
It's maintained a pretty low profile for the past seven years.
But now that the shop is expanding, it's not sitting well with everyone who lives there.
"I don't have issue with guns. I don't have issue with the Second Amendment,” McKeesport City Councilwoman Fawn Walker-Montgomery said. “I don't have issue with the owner. I just do not feel like we need a gun shop in McKeesport."
When Legion Arms decided to expand business in McKeesport, Walker-Montgomery took issue with it.
She says the city showed a lack of transparency of the expansion and claimed residents felt it was culturally insensitive.
"That shop sitting right there in that location is just unreal to me,” said Joy Burgwin, of McKeesport.
Sitting just feet away from Noah's Ark Community Center, Burgwin says the gun shop expansion takes away from all the hard work the crime-ridden community has worked so hard to clean up.
"My biggest concern would be that there would be somebody that would be able to purchase guns legally and bring them guns outside and put them on the streets of McKeesport," Burgwin said.
Legion Arms President, Jonathan Stark says he understands crime statistics are high, but says guns used to commit crimes are typically acquired illegally and not coming from legitimate gun stores like his.
"None of these firearms have ever been used in a crime. They've never been traced,” Stark said. "Our intention is not to be controversial or be a problem for McKeesport. We feel that if everybody buys a building as we've done, renovates it and operates a business, that McKeesport would be a much better place."
The grand opening of the business is set for Aug. 12th.
Walker-Montgomery hopes to discuss security measures to help prevent more violence from happening in the city.
© 2020 Cox Media Group