Civic group voices concern over gun shops downtown

Riverhead now has two relatively new gun shops. One in downtown Riverhead run by Joe Oliver; the other, run by Anthony Niosi, is at the Enterprise Park at Calverton. 

The issue of gun shops in the downtown area arose at the Jan. 3 Riverhead Town Board meeting, where Cindy Clifford of the Heart of Riverhead Civic Organization read a letter from group member Mitchell Hagler into the record. 

The letter brought up Riverhead’s plans to create “family-friendly” businesses and “zero tolerance” downtown destinations. 

“One of our Town Council’s ongoing priorities has been to make our downtown zero tolerance, [with]‘family-friendly’ attractions,” it read. 

At least one of the gun shops isn’t completely new.

Mr. Oliver, of JJ Armory LLC , currently operates a gun shop located in the basement of 48 West Main St. He said he’s been open for three years, and wants to move to a storefront on an upper floor facing Main Street. 

In an interview, Mr. Oliver said he’s a father of two, a member of Riverhead Rotary, has been a member of the Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps and also owns a computer business in Riverhead. 

Mr. Oliver requires customers to be buzzed in and out of the store when entering and exiting. 

He’s also a member of the Heart of Riverhead Civic Organization. 

“I know Mr. Oliver; he’s a member of our civic. He’s a great guy and he has a good business,” said Ms. Clifford. “This isn’t about pro-gun or anti-gun. It’s about suitability.”

She said a lot of local businesses are concerned about the gun shop. 

The issue first came up in 2022 with a proposal for a firearms shop on Elton Street, where Anthony Niosi of Niosi Firearms Development proposed a gun store. It met with opposition from nearby residents. 

“It’s been nearly a year and a half without a public update on the town’s plans for allowing gun shops,” Ms. Clifford said at the Jan. 3 Town Board meeting. “The Town Board must immediately close the loophole in the zoning so that this is the first, last and only store allowed.” 

Supervisor Tim Hubbard said that Mr. Oliver’s gun shop is a retail store and is located in a zone that allows retail uses. 

Mr. Niosi has now moved his business to 368 Burman Ave. at EPCAL and is calling it RANGE1. 

He said RANGE1 will offer state-mandated concealed carry training classes. State law requires people carrying guns to take a test. 

Mr. Hubbard said the town has worked with Mr. Oliver to find another location. Mr. Oliver said the rents at EPCAL were very high.

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