‘Deeply concerning’: Gun store opens across the street from Catholic school; owners promise safety
JEFFERSON PARISH (WVUE) - A gun shop opening across the street from a Catholic school in Jefferson Parish is causing a stir among parents.
But for the Rankins family, their new gun shop on Jefferson Highway is more than just a business venture. It’s a lifeline for their health.
“If this shop gets shut down before we open, we’re going bankrupt, and she won’t have her medicine,” said Trey Rankins.
The front door is steps away from St. Matthew the Apostle Catholic School’s campus.
Days after a shooting at a Christian school in Nashville left 3 children dead, some parents are calling for the shop to shutter its doors.
“Am I against guns? Absolutely not. Am I against gun shops? No,” said Lisa Dial, a St. Matthew parent. “Do I think right next to a school that’s 48 feet away? I don’t think it’s a great idea.”
Rankins thinks his shop makes the school safer, saying, “Even though I have kids, I would put my life on the line for these kids. No doubt about it.”
His wife, Lindsay, is recovering from a heart transplant. She and her son share the same condition.
They say they are willing to talk to any concerned parents and have even been a part of fundraising efforts for the kids next door.
“I’ve donated two guns to them for them to raise money for their school,” said the gun store owner.
Still, school leaders are asking parents to call their elected officials.
They shared a statement with Fox 8, calling the location “outrageous” and “deeply concerning.”
Dial says it’s not personal against the owners; they don’t want the gun store next to the school.
“They’re ready to protect us. I think that’s awesome,” said Dial. “But you can’t help all the clientele that’s going to go in there.”
A Jefferson Parish council member says the shop is not violating state law, so he’s looking to change the law that allowed this to happen.
“You know, it’s a small location. Hopefully, he expands his business and needs to move somewhere else while we attempt to change state laws to prohibit this from happening in the future,” said Deano Bonano.
Bonano posted the exemption to the firearm-free zone that protects the shop and its customers from violating state law.
Rankins says each customer will be background checked in accordance with FBI procedure.
He commits to refusing a sale if there are any red flags.
The shop has already started making sales, but it is set for a grand opening ceremony on Sunday.
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