According to Fairfax County email records obtained by Bearing Drift under a Freedom of Information Act request, School Board member Janie Strauss relayed news of the store’s opening to Foust at 10:28 AM on Sep. 25th. Shortly thereafter, Foust began investigating the store’s legality.
That evening, at 7:38 PM, John Foust emailed an issue briefing to local Democratic leaders, summarizing his research into the legality of the store’s placement and Fairfax County’s prior approval of its non-Residential Use Permit (RUP).
“The reviewer did not give anyone notice that a gun store was moving into McLean, but it also appears they did not know,” Foust explained in his briefing. “However, from a zoning standpoint, they would have issued the non-rup whether they knew it was guns or not because they have to.”
The store’s non-RUP had been issued two weeks earlier in accordance with zoning classification C-8, which broadly permits “retail sales” – the correct classification for a gun store. As Foust explained, the permit was granted because the county lacked any legal basis to deny its issuance.According to Bearing Drift, Foust was facing heavy criticism in his re-election campaign for not delivering funds for traffic congestion relief and public education. He needed something that would allow him to distract from those issues in the last month of the campaign and the NOVA Firearms store move provided just what he needed.
“State law pretty much prohibits the county from regulating guns,” said Foust, as he attached a verbatim copy of Va. Code § 15.2-915 in the group email to Democratic leaders.
On the day before the store’s opening, John Foust knew the county lacked legal options, but he didn’t let that stop his re-election campaign from exploiting the situation for political gain.
“I will join you at the protest,” Foust closed, as he began preparing for the morning’s political fray.
From the beginning, Foust repeatedly and personally attacked the store’s owners and landlord, stating, among his other attacks, that they lacked “decency and respect” while calling them “antagonistic to our community.”
Meanwhile, Foust’s supporters wasted no time in following the antagonistic example he set. One supporter, Victoria Manoogian, organized a boycott of the landlord’s business – not the gun store – while posting the landlord’s home address on the Internet, opening the door for harassment.
It's some pretty damning information uncovered by Bearing Drift complete with copies of emails so read the entire story.