Gun store plans to sell high-end shotguns

Selectmen wanted to chat with owner, but he wasn’t available.

Rubin Cronig's application to add high-end gun sales to his merchandise at this Main Street shop has been approved by Tisbury Police chief Daniel Hanavan. — George Brennan

Updated 10/5

A proposed gun dealer’s license for a Main Street shop is creating a buzz, much of it based on speculation.

Tisbury selectmen wanted to talk Rubin Cronig about his plans Tuesday, but took the item off the agenda when he was unavailable, leaving even board members to speculate.

Police Chief Dan Hanavan told The Times Mr. Cronig is looking to sell high-end shotguns used for skeet shooting. They’re Holland & Holland brand, Mr. Cronig intends to buy from collectors, the chief said. A check of that company’s web site shows guns that sell for $20,000 to more than $100,000.

“It’s a specialty market,” Chief Hanavan said.

Police are currently vetting his state license and Mr. Cronig will also have to get a federal license to sell the shotguns, which are used for skeet shooting. The review process includes a mental health and criminal background check, Chief Hanavan said.

“There are quite a few checks to it,” he said. “They’re very well vetted.”

There are already licensed gun owners on the Island and Cottage City in Oak Bluffs sells ammunition for guns, Chief Hanavan said.

They didn’t talk about the proposal during the meeting, but when asked by a reporter, selectmen Chairman Larry Gomez said he has questions about the shop.

“I’m not too happy with this,” he said of the proposal.

Calls to Mr. Cronig were not returned. Mr. Cronig owns a high-end watch and jewelry business on Main Street called Vineyard Time. On Wednesday, the shop was closed and his cousin at Cronig’s Real Estate took a reporter’s card and said he would reach out to Mr. Cronig.

A firearms dealer has to file an application with the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security that is reviewed by the local police department. That’s in process, Chief Hanavan said.

Even without any details about the proposed shop, that didn’t stop rumors from being spread by email Tuesday. On the Islander’s Talk Facebook page, a thread about the store had no details about the shop, but plenty of speculation. There were both supporters and detractors about the concept of a gun shop.

Selectman Tristan Israel, who asked for the item to be on the agenda, said he’s asked town administrator Jay Grande to find out what the board’s rights are. “Personally, I don’t want to see assault rifles downtown,” he told The Times.

Chief Hanavan said that’s not what Mr. Cronig intends to sell.

During the board’s meeting and unrelated to the gun store proposal, Mr. Israel made note of Monday’s shooting spree in Las Vegas that killed 58 people and injured more than 500 at a country music concert. “Our hearts go out to the people there. Pretty stunning events,” he said.


Museum review, credit check, and Halloween prep

In other business, the board is expected to approve a disclosure filed by building inspector Ken Barwick that will allow him to oversee the permitting and inspections for the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.

While the former Marine Hospital is in Mr. Barwick’s neighborhood and he had been told by a state Ethics Commission to avoid working on the project, the town has sought a way to have him involved since options are slim to inspect the $24 million renovation project.

Phil Wallis, executive director of the museum, met with selectmen Tuesday and told the board he has no issue with Mr. Barwick being involved in the project.

“If you’re good, we’re good. It’s not really our decision,” Mr. Wallis said. “We want the project going.”

Mr. Barwick was not there for the discussion, but joined the board later and said he’s ready to assume the responsibilities.

Board members had a lengthy discussion about getting a town credit card. Jon Snyder, the town’s finance director, proposed the policy saying it would allow department heads to make purchases for the town without putting them on personal cards to be reimbursed.

Town departments are doing more online purchases.

The policy prohibits personal spending, even if the town employee intends to reimburse for it, Mr. Snyder said.

While Mr. Snyder proposed having one card that would be shared, some selectmen seemed to think that was an inefficient way to do things because town departments are not all in the same building.

In answering a question from Mr. Israel about whether different card numbers could be assigned to departments, Mr. Snyder said he could look into that. “That’s why I suggested we tip toe instead of run. Get one card instead of 17,” he said.

Selectmen are expected to vote on the policy next Tuesday.

  • The board unanimously approved a 15-year memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the school committee on use of a town lot for parking next to Tisbury School. Previously, the MOU had been signed on an annual basis. The town’s DPW will handle maintenance of the paving and parking lines, but any changes would have to go before selectmen.
  • The board also approved applying for a $415,900 FEMA grant for a Beach Road sea wall.
  • Approved a plan by the Vineyard Haven Business Association to expand its First Friday celebrations into November and December. The board also approved closing Main Street for 15 minutes on Halloween night for a costume parade.
  • On the road closure front, selectmen approved Chief Hanavan’s recommendation for road closures on Halloween night. Clough Lane will be closed near the Catholic church because of an event there for children. He is also closing Spring Street coming into town at the Spring Street and Look Street intersection, as well as Church Street, Look Street and Drummer Lane to keep William Street closed and free of traffic. The road closures will be from 5 to 8 pm, a shorter amount of time than in past years. The DPW has agreed to clean the streets the next morning, Ms. Loberg said.

Editor’s note: Story was updated to clarify where Mr. Cronig intends to purchase guns for his store.



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