MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Members of Protect Morgantown gathered outside the building that will house Big Daddy Guns, on Thursday.
More than a dozen protesters lined the street in front of the store location to protest the opening of the gun store in the downtown area. Many of the protesters said that they did not want to see a downtown gun store so close to the West Virginia University Campus, schools, parks, churches and downtown businesses. A petition against the opening of the store has more than 1,700 signatures.
“I think that is a pretty good indication that a lot of community members, a lot of community organizations, local businesses, public officials have come forward to say, ‘you’re not welcome here.’ This is not a store that we want here; your company’s values and practices do not reflect that of the City of Morgantown,” said Jodie Hollingshead, an Organizer of Protect Morgantown.
Members of Protect Morgantown stated they are not anti-second amendment and they are not opposed to responsible gun ownership. They added that most of their supporters are gun owners and are opposed to this store specifically.
“The owners of Big Daddy Unlimited or Big Daddy Guns also have a media platform where they have a Twitter account that if you go to it, it is particularly homophobic and racist,” Hollingshead said. “If you go to the owner, Sherrie McKnight’s personal Facebook page, you’ll find evidence that she believes that the [presidential] election was stolen, um, if you go to the businesses website you’ll find evidence of a tee shirt with Kyle Rittenhouse on that says, ‘Be a man among men.’ They have a current membership special named after Alex Jones, the Sandy Hook conspiracy theorist who denies that the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary actually happened.”
Hollingshead said she’s reached out to several student organizations on WVU’s campus to get a pulse on how the students feel about this gun store. Those in attendance said that some of the students are fearful to have a gun store that close to campus.