MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — From community meetings to showing up to city council meetings to protests and even petitions, Protect Morgantown has been seemingly doing everything to try and keep Big Daddy Guns out of the area.
On Thursday, the group hosted a news conference at First Presbyterian Church to explain why it doesn’t want the store to open on University Avenue.
“We just don’t want them here, plain and simple,” local business owner Jillian Kelly said.
“Big Daddy Guns does not embody the welcoming and understanding ethos of our community here in Morgantown,” First Presbyterian Church Pastor Zac Morton said.
Those who spoke included parents, a church leader, elected officials and a downtown business owner, all in opposition of Big Daddy Guns opening.
“Big Daddy Guns as a company have made no attempt to try and convince any of our community leaders, gathered here today or the nearly 2,000 people that have signed our petition to oppose their location in downtown that they’re going to be good neighbors,” Morgantown City Councilman Brian Butcher said.
Protect Morgantown cited many different reasons for its opposition, saying it’s a danger to public safety with the store located near churches and schools. While many might think that the group could just be against guns or the second amendment, Protect Morgantown said that isn’t necessarily true.
“We’re not anti-guns, we’re not anti-second amendment; we’re anti-Big Daddy Guns because we are pro-Morgantown,” Morton said.
“Many of us are gun owners ourselves, we have a problem with this specific gun company, and I truly believe it’s going to increase the risk of tragedy happening here in Monongalia County,” Ralph Mullins said.
12 News reached out to the co-owner of Big Daddy Guns, Sherrie McKnight, but she did not provide a comment. Big Daddy Guns corporate office did release a statement to 12 News on the Morgantown store back in June.
Protect Morgantown will hold its next meeting on Sunday, July 31 at 6:30 p.m. That meeting is tentatively scheduled at First Presbyterian Church.