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John Jovino Gun Shop

Even the most seasoned NYC residents are frequently surprised to learn that there is a retail gun shop in Manhattan. The John Jovino Gun Shop, at 183 Grand Street in Little Italy, is the city’s oldest, established in 1911 (their sign claims to be the oldest in the U.S.A.). Click here for more photos.

At one time, there were more gun shops in this neighborhood, owing to the proximity of the Police Building at 240 Centre Street (now a residential condo but police headquarters before 1973). The old Frank Lava Gunsmith & Firearms Shop at 6 Centre Market Place, around the corner from Jovino’s current location, was established in 1850 and sported the large hanging gun motif, which John Jovino later adopted. Click here for vintage photo and article.

The shop is owned by Anthony Imperato, who also owns the Henry Repeating Arms factory in Brooklyn. The existence of a rifle factory in NYC surprised me even more. The clientele for the shop is primarily law enforcement, but it is open to anyone with the proper permits. Articles I have read report that there has been a steady rise in gun sales since 9/11, so I guess the future of this shop looks good…

16 Responses to John Jovino Gun Shop

  1. Chris & Deb says:

    must have decided one sign wasn’t nearly enough….Love the actual gun-shaped hanging sign though!
    Not to mention all the pictures plastered all over the glass depicting things that those brand new gun-owners can go out and shoot!
    Great photo (really!)

  2. Yes, but I thought they gave you the firearms for the job if you were in the police. I guess maybe they want their own?

  3. susan in atl says:

    I wonder why anyone would be so surprised that NYC has a gun store?

    I don’t own a gun but have shot quite a few (target practice). I’m a pretty good shot…lol…they say women in general are.

    • there use to be about 2 dozens gun shops , with in stock guns ,back in the 1980′s;
      yes surprised there are gun retailers with true showrooms for PRIVATE CITIZENS ,
      not just for law enf. sales,
      in nyc;
      lot has changed; numerous guns shops closed in 80,s and 90,s due to gun restrictive laws.
      been in nyc all my life.

  4. I thought there was a gun shop on every corner, and a citizen militia aremed to the teeth in every nook and cranny of the US.

    Now, don’t shatter our illusions !! ;-) )))

  5. This is a prime example of why I love your blog. You find such interesting places that I have never heard of and I lived in NYC for 20 years and know a lot. Or you have photos of places I know but they never looked so beautiful. Please don’t ever stop! I moved away from NYC and miss is dearly and don’t know when I’ll be back so please keep me connected.

  6. I laught at you all, its not one gun shop there is more and couns shooting ranges they can order and sell guns to customers with no problem Iam one of them got my p226 9mm some time ago :D happy shooting

  7. Was a little surprised to come across this store during a visit to NYC. Had to stop in and take a look. Bought a t-shirt, but no guns. I already have over 30 guns and without the hassle of getting them in New York!

    The movie The Brave One was on TV a couple nights ago, and there is a scene filmed in this store, which made me think of the time I came across the store the first time.

  8. JOHNNY DEL says:

    JOHN JOVINO COMPANY IS TRULY THE YANKEE STADIUM OF THE GUN BUSSINESS. MR. ALBANESE AND MR IMPERATO BUILT THIS BUSSINESS INTO A HISTORICAL ESTABLISHMENT OVER THE YEARS.THERE IS A FEELING YOU GET OF YESTERYEAR WHEN YOU ENTER.THEY WERE NUMBER ONE IN THE COUNTRY FOR YEARS AND WILL ALWAYS REMAIN NUMBER ONE. IF THERE WAS A HALL OF FAME FOR GUN ESTABLISHMENTS JOVINOS WOULD BE THE FIRST TO ENTER.

  9. kitchen table says:

    I wonder how the owner of that shop handles every situation in all this years. I can say that the owner manage its shop well. But isn't that a dangerous shop?

  10. Brian Dubé says:

    Kitchen table – It does seem crazy to me that a retail gun store exists in Manhattan, but I have heard of no problems there.

  11. I HAVE AN OLD ASH TRAY FROM JOHN JOVINO CO. WITH THE OLD ADDRESS ON 5 CENTRE MARKET PLACE, N.Y.C. THE WRITING IS WARRANTED 22 K GOLD MADE IN THE USA I CAN SEND PICS IF YOU’D LIKE.YOU CAN CONTACT ME AT CWWRESTLING@HOTMAIL.COM

  12. I purchased my AR-15 at Jovino’s a long time ago when it was legal to keep it in New York City for the sole sport of plinking (target shooting). It was never my intention to use it for hunting, killing animals, and however during the riots in New York City I used it for personal protection of my home and family. The politicians then Lee Brown, passed laws banning assault weapons which included my rifle. I was forced to move out of NYC into a gun storage facility on Long Island. I paid $50.00 a year to store the damn thing, and have not beento a range like Calverton in many years. In my opinion banning AR-15 with 30 round clips did nothing to reduce shootings here in NYC. A killer can use a knife, hammer, why a gun? I am a supporter of 2nd ammendment rights to bear arms. Why am I being punished, by dumb legislation?

  13. I purchased my first firearm at this shop (a Glock 19C) back in 1998, and started working there shortly as a part-time employee. The manager back then, was a man by the name of Charles Hu. I witnessed how this man would take advantage of new gun buyers. He would buy used guns for dirt cheap from gun owners who no longer wanted to keep paying the abusive $170 (back then) a year to the license division at 1 Police Plaza, to renew their pistol license in NYC. Then he would tell me to clean them up, and polish or refinish them if necessary, and then he would sell them as new. I never agreed to this, and was quite disgusted by not just that practice, but also the many other ways he would take advantage of new customers that did not know any better. Not only that, but he was very disrespectful to customers, and many people ended up not buying there and doing business at NY Ironworks, near the police headquarters. I worked there for almost two years until I left for a better job, and I have to say, ’till this day I regret ever working at this shop. It was originally located at 5 Centre Market Place. And the last time I passed by the shop which is now located on Grand Street in an attempt to make itself much more visible to the tourists that visit the Little Italy area, I saw Charles Hu behind the counter trying to sell some police merchandise/accessories to a bunch of tourists. I don’t recommend this shop to anyone. To anyone who wants to exercise their second amendment right to legally own a firearm(s) and/or police recruits, so anywhere else to buy your gear. Not only will you get much better prices, but also brand new merchandise. Word to the wise…:)


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