A Fort Wayne man wanted to open a precision gunsmith business in his home, repairing and upgrading competition rifles to shoot more accurately. Some of his neighbors went into hysterics; unfortunately, they carried the Board of Zoning Appeals away with them:
The Fort Wayne Board of Zoning Appeals shot down a south-side man’s request to operate a firearms business from his home Thursday.OK, sure, if Bell wanted to keep an inventory of handguns and shotguns in his house. That's not what the business entails.
Indiana Avenue resident Brock Bell wanted to work part time as a precision gunsmith, who would make competition rifles shoot more accurately. But the Board of Zoning Appeals decided the business could harm the community and was not in the public interest.
About 15 neighbors who attended the meeting argued there was nothing to stop Bell from expanding the business and selling guns.
The business could have reduced property values and increased crime in the neighborhood, said Melissa Skalicky, president of the West Rudisill Neighborhood Association. [emphasis added]
People who were looking for guns might have broken into nearby homes if they knew there was a firearms business in the area, she said.They'd break into... nearby homes... if they knew there was a firearms business in the area. Wow, criminals must be even dumber than I thought - I always figured they'd break into the firearms business to do that. And we all know about how the gang-bangers loves they Anschutz 1413 Super Match 54's. I think The Game wrote a rap about how he all OG when he roll wit hiz five-four. Word ta yo' gunsmizith, homey.
Skalicky said several neighbors planned to sell their homes for below-market price if the firearms business were approved."Because," she whispered, "One of them wants to move into the neighborhood."
OK, I made that up. But it's the first thing I thought of when I read that quote.
Bell needed the board’s approval to obtain a federal firearms license that would have allowed him to ship and receive firearms in the mail. Most of his customers would have been from outside the region because competition shooting is a specialized hobby, he said.I think that's just a smokescreen. If the board were serious that their biggest concern was that Bell might start selling other guns, I'm sure some kind of restrictive language could have been written into the zoning variance. I think it was all about 'Guns Are Bad.'
Bell said he planned to keep the guns secured in a safe to discourage break-ins. At most, he would have stored five guns in his home while he was repairing and upgrading the weapons.
. . .
Although Bell planned to focus on repairing and improving competition rifles, the federal license would have allowed him to sell other guns. Marcia Heymann, chairwoman of the zoning committee for the Southwest Area Partnership, said she worried the gunsmith business would expand into sales.
“The issue becomes not necessarily the intent in selling (guns),” she said, “it’s the ability to sell them.”
I don't really think that Fort Wayne is the dumbest city in America. But I do think that some neighborhoods - and some city officials - can make us look that way.