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Thread: Is a gun shop a reasonable home occupation?

  1. #1
    Cyburbian MayorMatty's avatar
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    Is a gun shop a reasonable home occupation?

    I've got an interesting scenario that begs for some national feedback. A guy in one of my towns wants to establish a retail gun shop in his garage as a home occupation by Special Use Permit. No shooting would occur during the course of business. The area is exceptionally low density and is zoned Agricultural Residential. His property is a 1/2-acre and resides next door to two identical residential uses.
    Would you even consider permitting such a thing? If so, what kinds of conditions would you insist upon?
    And here's the underlying issue that will certainly come up in deliberations. Would denying the permit violate his Constitutional rights under the 2nd Amendment?

  2. #2
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    hmm.....

    Maybe EG/Budgie/Rumpy or some other meat eating gun toting cyburbian (assume they eat meat and tote guns.... ) can verify that the ATF permits for limited firearm sales allows 3? sales per month??? Wouldn't this just be a home occupation if limited to the few sales?
    "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."
    John Kenneth Galbraith

  3. #3
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Is he selling guns or fixing them? Many home occ. codes do not allow retail uses. If you alow retail, I say you have to allow it. It really depends upon your code. If he is selling guns he needs a federal permit.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  4. #4
         
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    We could not allow it, as our Home Occupation regulations do not permit any retail sales. The "no retail sales" regulation was written espressedly to restrict the sale of firearms...at least that is what I have been told.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    2nd Amendment Rights violation by denying the permit? An emphatic no there. If you denied the permit you are not denying his right to keep and bear arms. Two separate issues.

    Now, I've actually seen these home gunshops all over the place. If it was me I'd try to talk the fellow into the following:

    1. I'd require proper external placarding for the ammo he will be selling. And he will be selling ammo. Don't let him BS you there.
    2. I'd require an automatic sprinkler system if the ammo will be stored in the main retailing room.
    3. I'd require a masonry structure, steel entry doors, and those orange steel and concrete anti-crash and grab poles around the structure. A remote store full of guns is an inviting target for the smash and grab style robbery.
    4. I'd require that you see a FULL federal firearms lisence before issuing the occupancy permit.
    5. I'd require that the gunsmithing watershot barrell (think CSI) - oh, and he will have one - be in another masonry room with a steel door.
    6. Then, I'd require proper, parking, signage, yada, yada, yada...

    Oh, and I'd require him to repeat the cool lines from the movie Dirty Harry in any public hearings that are called for.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Otis's avatar
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    Got to agree totally with el Guapo. As for the Second Amendment, it's not an abridgement of that right to restrict sales, not by a long shot.

    And just by asking about all that stuff EG lists will probably scare him enough to make him give up the whole idea.

  7. #7
    Cyburbian zman's avatar
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    No retail and no signage allowed.

    Maybe if it were a collector's business, but that is sort of a grey area.

    We may have an archaic code, but were clear on this.
    I can tell you right now, fallout shelters are a use by right in some districts.
    You get all squeezed up inside/Like the days were carved in stone/You get all wired up inside/And it's bad to be alone

    You can go out, you can take a ride/And when you get out on your own/You get all smoothed out inside/And it's good to be alone
    -Peart

  8. #8
         
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    Quote Originally posted by el Guapo
    2nd Amendment Rights violation by denying the permit? An emphatic no there. If you denied the permit you are not denying his right to keep and bear arms. Two separate issues.

    Now, I've actually seen these home gunshops all over the place. If it was me I'd try to talk the fellow into the following:

    1. I'd require proper external placarding for the ammo he will be selling. And he will be selling ammo. Don't let him BS you there.
    2. I'd require an automatic sprinkler system if the ammo will be stored in the main retailing room.
    3. I'd require a masonry structure, steel entry doors, and those orange steel and concrete anti-crash and grab poles around the structure. A remote store full of guns is an inviting target for the smash and grab style robbery.
    4. I'd require that you see a FULL federal firearms lisence before issuing the occupancy permit.
    5. I'd require that the gunsmithing watershot barrell (think CSI) - oh, and he will have one - be in another masonry room with a steel door.
    6. Then, I'd require proper, parking, signage, yada, yada, yada...

    Oh, and I'd require him to repeat the cool lines from the movie Dirty Harry in any public hearings that are called for.
    If we were to allow it I would also request ALL of the criteria above...we recently had a commercial gun shop request the cement ballards be installed in front of the glass entrance...apparently they have had someone drive into the structure and steel the inventory on more than one occasion...

  9. #9
    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    In wild and woolly Lewis and Clark County, Montana, it would be permissible either as a stand-alone store or as a home occupation (provided it met the definition of a home occupation). The only exception would be if it was in a special zoning district and it didn't qualify as a permitted use.

    El Guapo's recommendations are right-on. Unfortunately in our county we could not require it unless it went under subdivision review. We have no county-wide zoning, CUPs in a few areas, and no building permits.

    We also have a lot of mom and pop gunshops and gunsmiths.
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by el Guapo
    4. I'd require that you see a FULL federal firearms lisence before issuing the occupancy permit.
    I have dealt with two non-retail firearm sales home occupations. One was mail order based, beleive it or not, and the other dealt in the wholesaling of antiquity firearms. Neither allowed the seller to have customers on-premise (as the home occupation zoning ordinance prohibited it). In both cases, I found out about the request when the Federal Marshalls processing the federal permits called to see if it was okay for them to issue the license. In both cases, they met the local home occupation ordinance, and the license was granted.

    I would be much less likely to support a home use that had a retail component.

  11. #11
    I spent a few years as a competitive shooter and worked in sales at a large distrubitor of firearms and related materials and as a result, I have some experience in these things. Not much, however. It is my understanding that ATF has cracked down on "kitchen table" dealers by requiring a seperate place of business, regular hours, and a few other bothersome rules to obtain a FFL. I may be wrong, however, as I have been out of the game for about 10 years. Man I miss it!!!

  12. #12
    Cyburbian MayorMatty's avatar
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    External placarding displaying ammo type?

    I may be a little out of date on what you mean by external placarding. Do you mean wall signs that would say ".38 caliber" etc.?

  13. #13
    Cyburbian el Guapo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mayor Matty
    I may be a little out of date on what you mean by external placarding. Do you mean wall signs that would say ".38 caliber" etc.?
    Nope. I mean those signs that tell the fire department how far away to park the trucks so they will be outside of the crater.

    Here is an example
    Last edited by el Guapo; 14 Nov 2007 at 11:18 PM.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian MayorMatty's avatar
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    That's Hilarious!

    That lightens it up a bit. Thanks for your feedback. I'm now looking forward to this Board meeting! Great ideas.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian
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    My understanding is that the BATFE (they keep adding initials...) requires zoning clearance. For us, as long as it meets the requirements of a home occupation (no obvious signs that a business is being operated), we will sign the federal form.

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    Cyburbian otterpop's avatar
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    Is a gun shop a reasonable home occupation?

    Who's going to tell the gun shop owner it isn't a home occupation?
    "I am very good at reading women, but I get into trouble for using the Braille method."

    ~ Otterpop ~

  17. #17
    Cyburbian
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    I just introduce the individual to my attorneys-Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson...
    "If you love something, let it go."
    What kind of crap is that?

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Plus JNA's avatar
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    Check out Kentucky S.B 95 from 2004:
    http://lrc.ky.gov/record/04rs/SB95.htm
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  19. #19
    Cyburbian
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    Ironic this exact issue came up at our City Council meeting tonite. They passed it with minimal discusion. I wish I had seen the agenda before the meeting. I would have been prepared.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian mallen's avatar
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    Call me crazy, but I wouldn't just say "no", but "hell no".

    For a variety of reasons we wouldn't allow it (we don't allow retail sales directly from a home occupation unless the goods are created onsite (ie vegetables, clothes, etc.).

    But the one I hang my hat on is that it is not a "customary" home occupation. That is, it is not something that is commonly or routinely undertaken from a residence. Just like we wouldn't allow someone to fabricate plutonium rods from their house, we wouldn't allow someone to sell something so highly regulated.

    I have been approached about this in the past (twice if I recall) and my direct answer has always been "There is no way I'm authorizing any gun related business out of a home. You can challenge it, but someone other than me is going to have to make that call." Suprisingly enough, they have always gone away. I'm very firm with it, and maybe a little bit of a jerk. But I guess they can see that I'm not budging.

    I'm not an anti-gun zealot or anything. I just don't think that is something I am willing to explain to their neighbors.

  21. #21
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mallen
    But the one I hang my hat on is that it is not a "customary" home occupation. That is, it is not something that is commonly or routinely undertaken from a residence.
    So what do you say when someone comes up with a new idea, say no? If you were to look at the impacts of the neighborhood, you could encourage new ideas and regulate any negative effects.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  22. #22
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Off-topic:

    Quote Originally posted by greginboise
    I just introduce the individual to my attorneys-Mr. Smith and Mr. Wesson...
    This Mr. Wesson?
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  23. #23
    Cyburbian mallen's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by giff57
    So what do you say when someone comes up with a new idea, say no? If you were to look at the impacts of the neighborhood, you could encourage new ideas and regulate any negative effects.
    No we don't disallow innovation. Things pop up all the time that are new. But the question is whether the essence of the business is customary

    The "customary" approach is really a useful "tool" when a proposed use gets outside the bounds of common sense. In my opinion selling guns from a garage is not only highly unusual, but outside the bounds of common sense.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian boiker's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mallen
    No we don't disallow innovation. Things pop up all the time that are new. But the question is whether the essence of the business is customary

    The "customary" approach is really a useful "tool" when a proposed use gets outside the bounds of common sense. In my opinion selling guns from a garage is not only highly unusual, but outside the bounds of common sense.
    You can't lean on customary as a crutch. Customary is an ever evolving definition.

    What was once customary for a church 40 years ago is far from it. Many churches contain a retail compononent, independent food service, etc. Zoning needs to define and adapt to market changes and changes in technology.

    I'm not saying a gun shop is an appropriate use, but to say it's not customary is a very subjective statement.
    Dude, I'm cheesing so hard right now.

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    Most Home Occ's I've been involved with restrict retail sales, the other issue that jumps out at me would be ammunition. Will there be ammunition loading or ammunition handled on site. If so, that and the quantities of ammunition could raise a concern.

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