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Georgia gun shop owner shutters store after mass shootings targeting children


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A gun store owner near Atlanta said he is closing his store after his conscience was burdened by recent mass shootings that targeted young victims.

Jon Waldman, 43, opened Georgia Ballistics in Duluth in March 2021, and post-pandemic business has been steady ever since, he said.

But a pair of recent attacks, one at a Nashville Christian school and another at an Atlanta hospital, were the final straws for Waldman, who said his shop is already closed and he plans to have all weapons cleared out by June 15.

“There’s no guilt about it, I sell to law-abiding citizens,” Waldman said Thursday,

He said he reached the point of worrying that any weapon he sells, even to someone who will never commit a crime, could end up in the wrong hands.

“I’m not against the Second Amendment. But just with my conscience, I can’t sell it because I don’t know who it’s going to affect and hurt,” he said.

“That’s what eats at me. If it can happen, it’s only a matter of time until it does happen.”


Two recent shootings led Waldman to his decision, he said.

A former student of The Covenant School in Nashville killed three children and three adults at the campus on March 27, officials said. The shooter was fatally shot by responding police.

“That really affected me,” said Waldman.

“And then the shooting at Midtown (Atlanta); this just has to stop. Dude killed a woman from the CDC who only wanted to help others. So, I just can’t, that was the final straws.”

On May 3, a 24-year-old man opened fire inside an Atlanta hospital, killing a woman and wounding four others before he was captured, police said.

If Waldman hadn’t already decided to close his shop, he said another reason presented itself six weeks ago when a customer wanted to purchase 4,000 rounds.

Even 1,000 would’ve been reasonable, but four times that amount, Waldman said, made him question his field.

“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 insisted he’s not pushing for greater restrictions on firearm ownership but is only advocating for more gun safety.

“I am more of a training and learning advocate,” he said. “I am more about training and safety than I am, ‘Everybody should just have one.’ You should be able to safely have one.”

When asked about Waldman’s concerns about young victims, Kris Brown, president of Brady: United Against Gun Violence, said too many children are hurt by firearms every day in the United States.

“We hear every day about a child, sometimes as young as 3 or 4 years old, getting their hands on their parents’ gun and accidentally shooting a loved one, or themselves,” Brown said in a statement to NBC News.

“That’s because gun owners are for the most part not legally required to safely store their firearms. Eight kids a day are unintentionally killed or injured by these instances of ‘family fire.’ ”



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