Trustees Tuesday unanimously approved a new gun shop despite strong opposition from residents who live in the Washington Highlands condominiums across the street.
Jonathan Hennegan, a former Marine and a Racine native, appeared before the village Planning Commission May 8, and received approval to open Chambered in a vacant office at All One Storage, 1630 Wisconsin Street.
Henngan is a former Marine who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. He told The Journal Times that he wants to open a gun shop to provide a complete buying experience, including proper firearm handling, and, eventually, a shooting range at a new location if this store proves successful.
The conditions he had to meet include maintaining an alarm system; all windows and doors will be reinforced and secured at all times; no discharging firearms; no minors unless accompanied by a parent or guardian; and no alcohol consumption on the premises.
There are additional regulations and requirements from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and the FBI Henngen must meet before he can become a licensed dealer. He plans to sell semi-automatic weapons only.
During the Sturtevant Village Board meeting Tuesday, Hennegan said he is going even further by contracting with ADT for security services that include cameras pointed at the door, the safe where guns will be stored when Chambered is closed and video storage in the Cloud for video review; and a 360-degree view of the store.
More, there will be interior bars across windows positioned so curtains can be hung to create a more pleasing aesthetic, he added, and his alarm system will be connected directly to the police department.
Michael Raush, owner of the storage facility, said he is upgrading his camera system to capture license plates of cars coming and going from the property. He said Hennegan is a storage tenant, and the two have some things in common, including being military veterans.
“I have a vacant office space I’d like to rent so when I found out Jonathan wanted to open a gun shop, I thought it would make a good fit,” he said.
Residents of the condominiums oppose Hennegan’s plan because, they said, their property values will take an even bigger plunge than they have already. They also questioned the possibility of increased crime and that unsavory characters from the City of Racine would start patronizing Chambered.
Village President Steve Jansen waved that concern away.
“You’re talking about a lot of ‘what ifs’ that can be tied to the state of the economy in this village, this county and the state,” he said. “This young man has done everything we’ve asked him to do, and he deserves a chance to make a go of it. The crime you’re worried about in Racine isn’t because of legally purchased firearms, I can tell you that.”
In short, if a proposed business meets zoning and conditions, trustees have little reason to refuse, Trustee Chris Wright explained.
“I think there’s a misperception of how far we can go,” he said. “This business meets all the conditions and the zoning so we can’t deny him even though we fully appreciate your concerns.”
Chambered could open by July 1, and will be open both by appointment and from 4 to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday and 9 a.m. to 9