New York City usually doesn't come to mind when one thinks of gun stores- hand gun laws in New York State are the most strict in the nation. In Manhattan there is only one shop where you can buy a gun. For more than 100 years the store known for its iconic revolver sign has operated in lower Manhattan. John Jovino Gun Shop has been a fixture of the Grand Street block that connects Chinatown and Little Italy since it opened in 1911. It claims to be the oldest gun shop still in operation in the United States.
According to Wikipedia, the original owner, John Jovino, sold the store to the Imperato family in the 1920s. The New York Times, in a 2003 article, quoted Anthony Imperato as the store's owner, who also own Henry Repeating Arms, firearms manufacturing company, one of the top five long gun manufacturers in the United States.
Anthony Imperato, CEO of the Henry Repeating Arms said a year ago in one of his interviews: “We sold around 300 thousand lever guns last year. To put that into perspective, Henry Repeating Rifles’ sales rose 20 percent in 2014".
Charles Hu , a native of Shanghai manages the store now. Charles Hu was part of the first group of government-sponsored Chinese students studying abroad in the early 1980s. After receiving his American citizenship, he worked as a media manager at the China Press newspaper in New York and as a New York City policeman before becoming the general manager of the store.
Most of the eligible buyers are police or foreign diplomats, as New York City has some of the strictest gun-control laws in the nation, with permits to carry a handgun even more difficult to qualify for.
A spokesperson at the NYPD's licensing division said that a basic license to buy a pistol and keep it at home usually takes from four to six months and requires an extensive background check and usually a personal interview. After the purchase, the owner has to bring the weapon to the NYPD within 72 hours for registration.
The store has five employees. With sales mostly to law enforcement and some licensed gun owners it reportedly does $1 million in sales annually.
Village Voce wrote in 2007: A study by Columbia professor Howard Andrews once cited the shop as one of the biggest suppliers of guns used in New York City crimes. Of the 11,700 guns recovered in criminal investigations from 1996 to 2000, the study found, 102 were purchased at Jovino. Only two Virginia gun shops beat that tally, and they've both been shut down, papers reported in 2003. As many other places in New York, you can see the shop in the movie. In "Serpico", Al Pacino visits John Jovino's Gunshop to add a little more firepower to his self-defense system. Towards the end of the film, Serpico (Al Pacino) purchases for himself a Browning Hi-Power with target sights . The salesman incorrectly tells him it "takes a 14-shot clip". Although a Hi-Power can have a maximum capacity of