Convenience Store Concerns

FRESNO, Calif.

He wants the city to get involved to make sure retailers keep these items away from children.

Ron Hollinger knows stores all over the city have the law on their side when it comes to selling paraphernalia. But he says local leaders haven't thought about how selling these items out in the open hurts children. Hollinger says the problem has been bugging him for years, so now he's taking action.

Action News hidden cameras captured the colorful bongs and pipes on display at this store called Dollar Mart on Belmont and Sixth in Central Fresno. They come in all shapes and sizes and dozens, maybe even hundreds to choose from. And this store isn't the only one.

Ron Hollinger in on a one man crusade to get these pipes out of the reach of children. On Thursday, he took his message to City Hall.

"There's glass cases and they put it right there. In plain sight where the children buy their snacks and they walk right past it. And I don't want to point out a particular store and hurt some particular business but I want to know why it's allowed."

Hollinger started looking for answers months ago. He says he started at the Fresno Police Department and then started calling various other law enforcement agencies. He says no one had any answers.

"At least put them in a way where you can't see them or zone it for that sort of thing. It used to be that those shops and those sorts of things were off Blackstone."

Inez Rodriguez is a mother of three who shops at the Dollar Mart in question. She agrees the smoking paraphernalia is hard to miss at this store since its right by the cash register.

"Like my daughter, she's just looking and I'm like get over here. You know, I don't think stuff like that should be in stores because kids like my daughter's age go in there."

Hollinger is not challenging the legal issues, but he hopes city leaders will understand his argument and ban these types of sales at stores open to minors.

Even though Rodriguez does not know Hollinger, she says she believes in his idea. "I'm all for it. I'll support him. Anything to help the kids, keep all that stuff away from the kids."

Hollinger says he is only one citizen hoping to make a change.

He explained his concern late Thursday afternoon to the City Council. And he told Action News, they too, did not answer his question of why this is acceptable.

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