HARRISON, N.Y. -- When a new gun shop opened in Harrison this month, the owner, Louis Zacchio, never expected to be confronted with a petition against his store, angry town hall meetings, or even, a story in The New York Times about its opening.
The opening of the store, first reported by Daily Voice, drew such an outcry that more than 3,300 residents signed the petition, saying a gun store in a town full of ice cream and pizza shops just didn't mix.
Many parents and teachers also pointed to tragedies such as the Sandy Hook massacre as reasons against Zacchio's decision to open the store in the Harrison Mall, said the New York Times.
In many parts of the U.S., guns are a normal part of life, but in certain areas of the country, including Westchester County, guns and gun shops are seen as toxic, The New York Times said.
Zacchio, who has held state and federal licenses to sell firearms for 18 years, told Daily Voice he recognizes that guns are a lightning rod for public debate due to escalating gun violence in America.
But his wife, Lisa Zacchio said: "It is the right of the people to circulate a petition, just as it is the right of a person to open a legitimate and legal business. That's what make our country great."
Zacchio said is is committed to the safe use of firearms and has built a solid reputation as an expert. He welcomes anyone to call him at 914-835-4145 or ask him questions in person about his business practices as well as the safe use of firearms for sport or self-defense.
On his first day in the new shop, Zacchio said business had been good, and he hadn't had a chance to read The New York Times story about himself.
"I'll get around to it," he said.
Jon Craig contributed to this report.