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NRA plans theme store for Times Square
NEW YORK (CNN) -- The National Rifle Association is negotiating a lease for a "total shooting sports" theme store at New York City's Times Square, a spokesman for the organization said.
The NRA hopes to join Disney, the All-Star Cafe, and Loews movie theaters in one of the world's busiest business districts. The spokesman said the theme store will be the "biggest presence in Times Square."
"Imagine a new, exciting, total shooting sports and sporting goods experience," said NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre in an infomercial that will be aired at the association's upcoming annual convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
He continued: "Try to picture several thousand square feet of NRA branded merchandise, plus shooting, and outdoor recreation products."
And according to the video, the theme store and restaurant will feature only virtual electronic gun games, not real guns.
'We wouldn't welcome' it
A spokesman for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said the mayor had no comment on the planned store, and several people involved in the revitalization of Times Square, including some at city hall, say they knew nothing about the NRA store plan.
Brendon Sexton, of the Times Square Business Improvement District, said the store would be a detriment.
"We wouldn't welcome the gun culture back into Times Square. We just got rid of it," he said. "It represents what we're proud Times Square no longer is."
What Times Square "no longer is" is a symbol of crime and decay, an urban arena for pornography and muggings.
But in the last seven years, developers and city planners worked together to clean-up the area, going to court to get undesirable businesses closed and spending millions on security, sanitation and development.
Democratic New York Sen. Charles Schumer, one of the NRA's fiercest critics, believes guns and Times Square are a dangerous combination.
"You've got young people, bars ... to glorify shooting. Times Square is the last place you want guns."
But the NRA claims 3.6 million members, which could bring in a sizable number of tourists.
The NRA is not releasing the exact location or size of the planned store.
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