Attack of the anti-gun NIMBY's

The decision by Colorado Democrats to do away with the state’s firearm preemption law last year means that local governments across the state can now implement gun control laws more strict than those in place statewide, and while we haven’t yet seen a flood of new gun control ordinances introduced across the state, residents in one Denver suburb are trying to convince their local leaders to take aim at a gun store operating out of a private home.

There’s nothing illegal about home-based businesses dealing in firearms, and Jason Pratt says his company Tomcat Tactical Firearms has actually been quietly operating from his Greenwood Village residence for almost five years without incident. But when some neighbors recently learned about Pratt’s operation, they almost immediately started their efforts to shut it down, or at least force it to change locations.

For the last 50 years, Sandy Carson and her family have called Greenwood Village home. But for her, that peace was recently shattered.

“Recently, I was beginning to see myself somewhere else because… I discovered there was a gun business so close to me,” Carson said, adding that she’s upset that the sales are happening in the neighborhood instead of a store.

Greenwood Village neighbors have launched a petition to close a residential gun store. The store owner says everything he is doing is legal.

“I have had many sleepless nights. I am upset that nothing has been done about it up to this point, that we have been told (the business) is legal,” Carson said.

Let’s be clear here; Carson’s “peace” hasn’t been shattered, only her peace of mind, and without any good reason whatsoever. There have been no issues with Pratt’s store. It’s been open for years and Carson never lost a night’s sleep because of it. It wasn’t until she discovered the legal business that’s been operating right under her nose that she started freaking out.

Now neighbors have been circulating a petition demanding the Greenwood Springs City Council shut down Tomcat Tactical or force Pratt to move his base of operations outside the home. Pratt says instead, he’d like his critics to talk to him and take a look at his business for themselves.

“One of the neighbors called the police and they came and paid me a visit and I was actually very thankful for that. They thought I was selling firearms unlawfully and so when they asked me, ‘Do you sell firearms?’ and I said yes and that kind of took them back and I said, ‘I am a FFL (Federal Firearms License)’ and they said, ‘OK, we support what you do, everything you’re doing here is lawful,’” said Pratt.

But for Carson and many others, Pratt’s business brings potential dangers.

“My house is my haven. It isn’t anymore and it is very upsetting,” said Carson.

Carson’s home is just as much a haven as it ever was, because Pratt isn’t doing anything illegal or immoral by lawfully selling firearms from his home.

It remains to be seen what action, if any, the Greenwood Springs City Council is actually going to take in response to the NIMBYs in their midst, but here’s hoping they politely tell Carson and the other scolds to mind their own business and leave Pratt’s alone.

For the rest of us, however, this is another reminder of the importance of firearm preemption laws. The gun control lobby is hard at work trying to remove these protections in states across the country, both through legislation and litigation, and once they’re wiped off the books it makes it much easier for anti-gun activists and garden variety NIMBY types to play hell with our Second Amendment rights. Not only do we need to fight to keep these protections in place, we need to strengthen preemption laws by giving them some teeth.