SYRACUSE, NY. (NCC News) – The United Bodegas of America announced a new initiative for their workers this past weekend in New York City. The group is calling it a “Secret Society,” and it is helping store owners legally obtain concealed guns to protect themselves from criminals.
This initiative has not made its way to Syracuse, but if it did some community members would be hesitant about a plan like this, but others are saying it’s needed.
Nyrasia Sherman stopped in Union Place Market to pick up a pack of cigarettes with a friend. He said the glass that projects the works won’t protect them if someone comes in with the intention to rob. He believes convenience store owners should carry concealed guns.
“I feel like they should protect themselves as well as all of us should,” Sherman said.
Sherman remembered a time when his friend owned the store four years ago, saying that he was robbed twice. He told him he needed to get a gun. The current Maged Mozed, the owner of Union Place market, said he also believed that workers should have that security.
“Stores like this especially in some neighborhoods you have to – you have to have something on you to protect yourself” said Mozed, “Every store, not only these stores have to have something on them.”
Small business owner Berton Menninger agrees. His wife already has a concealed gun for security because they often have desirable items on them
“We get paid cash sometimes and we carry checks, we have access to all kinds of buildings at all hours of the day and night,” Menninger said.
He said the process to get a gun is lengthy and costly, but worth it.
“In New York state, you have to take a class to get you certified, then you have to go – pay for the class, then you have to pay for a background check then it has to be submitted to the sheriff department to get approved”
While some like Berton think it necessary, others are more hesitant for workers to have guns. Ricky Boyd said he would want workers to feel safe, but might feel more nervous walking into a store knowing the worker has a gun.
“You never know what the guy with the gun is thinking or vice versa – just the simple fact I don’t know what they are on that day or how they are feeling,” Boyd said.