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Holladay • Several residents in this eastside suburb sounded off Tuesday night concerning a proposed home-based firearms business, most adamantly opposed to the idea.
"The increase of firearms is an inducement to a spirit of violence," said Holladay resident Scott Fisher, noting that considering a home-based business was only part of the weighty decision facing the city's Planning Commission.
"The other part of it is the kind of business that it is," Fisher said. "I'm opposed to it dramatically."
In the end, however, the city's seven commissioners voted unanimously to grant the conditional-use permit to Nelson Gardner, leaving the more difficult gun-sale regulations to the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Gardner, who works full-time and intends to sell pistols and rifles only part-time to relatives and people that he knows, agreed to limit his business to 10 customers per month and to maintain a total inventory of no more than eight weapons at any given time.
Gardner also agreed to not post signs or to advertise his business online. His clients would come strictly by word of mouth.
"I know this is a very volatile issue," Gardner said, "any time the words firearms and neighborhood come together, I know that if I had received a letter like my neighbors did that I would have been concerned as well."
Gardner tried to allay those concerns by saying he had no plans to stockpile weapons, adding that the ATF would not allow shipments to be delivered directly to his home. Storage of the guns is also strictly regulated, he said.
Resident Phil Blomquist spoke in favor of Gardner's right to sell guns out of his house.
"I find it so interesting that so many people put Mr. Gardner in the same box as the criminal element out there," Blomquist said.
"Guns will protect that neighborhood," Blomquist added. "Guns are not the problem, people are the problem."
Pamela Urry, a Holladay resident and attorney, delivered a petition to the panel signed by 18 of Gardner's close neighbors.
"The sale of firearms should be a commercial enterprise only and not be allowed to creep into residential neighborhoods," Urry said, noting that operating such a business on a secluded, dead-end street is neither necessary nor desirable.
With the conditional-use permit in hand, Gardner can now pursue the necessary federal ATF approval and will also need to obtain a Holladay business license.
Paul Allred, Holladay's community development director, said that opponents still have recourse. They can appeal the commission's decision to the City Council and if that fails, they can take the matter to court.