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McPhersonSentinel - McPherson, KS
  • State gun law overrides city zoning ordinance

  • McPherson officials have expressed concerns about a new state law that will allow home-based firearms businesses without special zoning permits.
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  • McPherson officials have expressed concerns about a new state law that will allow home-based firearms businesses without special zoning permits.
    Prior to 2012, local governments were allowed to pass zoning laws that regulated home-based firearms businesses.
    The new Kansas statute states that no city or county can adopt any ordinance, resolution or regulation or take any administrative action regarding the purchase, transfer, ownership, storage, or transporting of firearms and ammunition.
    This law was backed by a Kansas Attorney General’s opinion dated Jan 19, 2012, that said the state law preempts local zoning ordinance of home-based firearms businesses.
    City Attorney Jeff Houston said, in the past, sales of firearms and ammunition were prohibited in the city of McPherson without a special-use permit.
    “McPherson, like most cities, had a general special-use permit for these types of businesses,” he said, “but now the state legislature has overridden zoning ordinances covering firearms and gunpowder.”
    The McPherson Planning Commission was not unanimously in favor of the change due to what members called “the implications of operating a firearms business out of a home and, particularly, the storage and sale of ammunition in a residential setting.”
    The report went on to ask the city attorney to study the state law and see if it would be possible to retain some form of jurisdiction.
    Houston said he is currently looking into the city’s options, as the attorney general’s opinion leaves some space for options.
    “For example,” Houston said, “could we require placards like you see on trucks to be visible on these homes? How could that help firefighters responding to a fire in such a home?”
    John Marlett Jr., who operates John’s Gun Bluing out of his McPherson home, said no matter how the issue was looked at, the city would be denying his Constitutional rights.
    “I think they’re getting into hot water,” Marlett said. “It’s not any more dangerous than working on a gas-filled mower.”
    If faced with any city-based regulation on his trade, Marlett said he’d contact the Kansas and national branches of the National Rifle Association.
    “It wouldn’t cost me anything to get lawyers that way,” Marlett said.
    Discussion on the matter is in its early stages, Houston said, and it would be some time before anything took shape.
    “Every city needs to be vigilant in knowing where their limits are as far as the state’s concerned,” Houston said.

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