Thursday, March 25, 2004

Gun Shops in the Home

Newport gunsmith's case may eliminate local zoning restrictions

By Travis Gettys
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Newport gunsmith Peter Garrett, shown in his shop at 838 Monmouth St., favors a bill pending in the Kentucky House of Representatives that would ease restrictions on opening locations elsewhere.
The Cincinnati Enquirer/PATRICK REDDY
FRANKFORT - A proposed change in state law could allow a Newport gun shop owner to expand his business into nearby cities, a move that has been blocked for years by local zoning laws.

A bill to allow gun dealers to open shops in their homes by exempting them from almost all local zoning restrictions has been approved by a House committee.

The legislation was prompted by an appeals court ruling in a case involving gun shop owner Peter Garrett, said Sen. Robert Stivers, R-Manchester.

Garrett sought in 2000 to open two new locations of his gunsmith business in Dayton and Bellevue, but his plans were rejected because of planning and zoning rules, which he calls "gun control by proxy."

He sued to have the restrictions overturned and lost. A 2002 Kentucky Court of Appeals ruling said local zoning regulations supersede state law regarding the location of gun shops. However, the legislation would permit guns to be sold legally anywhere in the state where other businesses are allowed.

In some counties, for example, tax experts are allowed to run businesses out of their homes. Because those businesses are allowed, the bill would require local governments to allow gun dealers to open shops in their homes. They would still have to be licensed by the federal government.

"I am not nearly as restricted as before," Garrett said of the proposed change. "I was looking down the barrel of a gun under the old law."

The House Local Government Committee approved the bill 13-4 Tuesday, and supporters were confident the full House would pass it. It has already passed in the Senate.

"The pro-gun people control the House a lot better than they do the local government committee," said Guy Hardin, who testified in support of the bill for the group Take Back Kentucky.

Rep. Jim Wayne, D-Louisville, voted against the bill even after it was amended to exclude Louisville.

Officials view the bill as an "erosion" of local zoning laws, said Ron Wolf, a lobbyist for Louisville Metro Government.

Some lawmakers wondered whether other businesses - such as adult entertainment - will now seek exemptions from local zoning laws.

If the bill becomes law, Garrett said, he isn't sure where he'll open a new gun shop.

"This opens up a lot of options for me," he said. "If I don't go to Dayton or Bellevue, which I may yet, I'll probably go out in the county."


Erpenbecks switching to guilty pleas
Hanging chads proving costly
Angina cure a step closer
Political spending will zoom
Working for a safer Avondale

Ohio's taxes blamed for flight
Calling all Butler County Democrats: Run this race
Energetic cast, crew shine in Beechwood High's 'Annie'
'Just happy to be alive,' but much more than that
Judges struggle with Flynt case
Center names spokeswoman
Green Twp. may need levy this fall
Zoning change opens land for supercenter
News briefs
Senior housing planned
Mutation linked to lung disease in newborns
Workshop to explain three Lunken options
New wastewater plant increases Mason capacity
Neighbors briefs
Newtown slaying still a mystery
Public safety briefs
Price Hill to plan for new elementary
Taking Fernald back to nature
Montgomery to choose developer in April
Money sought for baseball diamonds

Bronson: Lack of faith in City Council leads to Angels
Crowley: Henry wants Kentucky to have a surgeon general
Summit continues helping heart fund

Ernest Mauer was star at Newport High

Commandments must go
N.Ky chamber endorses tax plan
Furnish gets death penalty a second time
Senate panel OKs price-gouging bill
Gun Shops in the Home
Thieves take kegs, leave dirt behind
Flowers add more color to purple bridge
Clooney, Davis spar over polls