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14 June 2017

Opinion: College Park Residents Tell Responsible Gun Owners You're Not Welcome Here

About a month ago, members of the public protested a planned development at the former Target on Old National Highway in College Park.

(The former Target on Old National Highway in College Park sits abandoned since its closure in the early 90s.)
A gun range and superstore was proposed for the location, which has slowly been deteriorating since its closure in the early 90s.

Comments in opposition at the May 15, 2017 College Park City Council meeting featured people claiming "gun ranges are retail killers," and "that particular development would be detrimental to the future development of everything on Old National."

Those of you who've never been to Old National Highway should know that high-end retail along that corridor died years ago. There was once a time when Sizzler, Longhorn Steakhouse, Steak & Ale, Red Lobster and many other establishments lined the four-lane street. Gradually those businesses made way for a hodgepodge of dollar stores, barber shops and chicken shacks.

Old National Highway, once the jewel of the southside, is now frequently derided as Old Nasty.

William "Bill" Edwards, newly elected Mayor of South Fulton, lamented Old National's decline at a 2014 town hall meeting.

"We can keep a chicken shack, nail shop and liquor store in business, but we can't keep a Ross," Edwards said. "Ross didn't have the sales to stay open."

Residents of the area often plead for economic development. Well, guns are not cheap.

A Glock 9mm runs around $600 at Academy Outdoors and Sports. A Remington Versa Max Sportsman Semi-Automatic Shotgun at Dick's Sporting Goods costs $1,049.99. A gun range and a gun store is not dollar store. An entirely different kind of clientele frequents gun ranges and gun stores; and the best example of this is the gun club located at 8040 Roswell Road in Sandy Springs.

Still, the people of College Park and Old National said no to this new clientele.

So the old Target remains empty on Old Nasty Highway, while responsible black gun owners continue to patronize Autry's Armory, Stoddard's Gun Range and the Sandy Springs Gun Club.