The owner of a gun shop has decided to close his doors for good as mass shootings killing children have weighed on his conscience.
Jon Waldman, 43, opened Georgia Ballistics in Duluth in 2021 and had steady business – but shuttered it after two recent shootings with young victims.
The first was a March shooting at a Christian school in Nashville that left three kids and three adults dead. The second was a May 3 shooting inside a hospital in Atlanta, which is close to Waldman’s gun store, that killed a woman and wounded four others.
‘I’m not against the Second Amendment,’ Waldman, referring to the right to bear arms, told NBC News on Thursday.
‘But just with my conscience, I can’t sell it, because I don’t know who it’s going to affect and hurt.
‘That’s what eats at me. If it can happen, it’s only a matter of time until it does happen.’
Waldman’s decision comes as gunshot deaths among kids are found to have increased 50% from 2019 to 2021. The number of deaths increased from 1,732 to 2,590 in that time span, according to the Pew Research Center in April. That is the highest figure since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began counting such fatalities in 1999, the Daily Mail reported.
The shooting at The Covenant School in Nashville ‘really affected me’, Waldman said, and the one at the Atlanta hospital close to home was the ‘final’ straw.
‘Dude killed a woman from the CDC who only wanted to help others,’ he said. ‘So I just can’t.’
Waldman has already shuttered his business and plans to have all the firearms in stock cleared by June 15.
He was also disillusioned when a customer a month-and-a-half ago walked in wanting to buy 4,000 rounds.
‘If you had ordered 200 to 1,000 rounds, that’s fine. Anyone who shoots regularly, you’re going through a thousand rounds in a month,’ he said.
‘But when you order 4,000 rounds, the kind of stuff that goes through engine blocks, refrigerators and vests that police officers wear, I just can’t sell that.’
Waldman said he is not pushing for more restrictions on gun ownership, but rather advocating for gun safety.
Kris Brown, president of Brady: United Against Gun Violence, said that eight children are killed or hurt each day because gun owners are largely not required by law to safely store their weapons.
‘We hear every day about a child, sometimes as young as 3 or 4 years old, getting their hands on their parents’ gun,’ Brown told NBC News, ‘And accidentally shooting a loved one, or themselves.’
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