Denver suburb bans in-home gun businesses, with one notable exception

Denver suburb bans in-home gun businesses, with one notable exception
Photo Courtesy of the National Shooting Sports Foundation

Back in February of this year we reported on a move in the Denver suburb of Greenwood Village to shut down a gun store called Tomcat Tactical after some residents complained that they felt unsafe, despite the fact that the company had been operating out of founder Jason Pratt’s home for more than five years.

Well, it took the NIMBYs some time, but they managed to get a new ordinance passed that will block any FFL’s from opening up their own gun shop at home. However, the ordinance doesn’t apply to existing businesses, which means Tomcat Tactical is still up and running, much to the consternation of the anti-gun activists hoping to force Pratt to move or shutter his company completely.

Despite the fact that the municipal ordinance will only apply to those trying to launch an at-home gun business in the future, it sounds like the only reason why the ordinance was approved at all this week is because of the unfounded complaints and fearmongering on the part of some of Pratt’s neighbors.

City attorney Tonya Haas Davidson also said Greenwood Village has permissive regulations on home businesses that don’t disturb the residential character of the area.

Tomcat Tactical’s owner “has been operating his business for years with absolutely no issues,” Davidson explained in an email to a resident that was reviewed by The Colorado Sun. “A perception of potential harm will not overcome an actual history of zero problems.”

There have not been actual problems at the business, just complaints about its existence and that it “makes people uncomfortable,” Davidson wrote, in an email to another resident, adding it was“nothing that would involve the police doing an investigation.”

Pratt himself had threatened to sue Greenwood Village if they changed their zoning laws to ban in-home firearms businesses, but now that he’s been exempted it’s unclear if he’ll challenge the ordinance or if he even has standing to do so. My guess is that the law won’t face a court challenge unless and until someone else decides to start their own business and is denied a license based on the new zoning restrictions. In the meantime, the fearmongers appear to have won this round.

Concerns about Tomcat Tactical date back to at least 2019, when several residents called police asking them to investigate the shop’s legality, according to dispatch logs.

Months later, a letter was circulated among neighbors drawing attention to the company. And residents collected more than 250 signatures on a petition presented to city officials that called Tomcat Tactical offensive and “a threat to the safety and enjoyment of our neighborhood.”

Jackie Kirby, who has lived in Greenwood Village for about 20 years, said it felt like residents were told they had to wait for something bad to happen before action would be taken.

Well yeah, Jackie. If Pratt hasn’t done anything wrong, then why would any action need to be taken?

Paul Baumann, who last year ran for Greenwood City Council, said it worried him that his school-age son would be walking close to Tomcat Tactical, which is located near a path that many kids take to school.

“It is not some guy who’s just casually selling … on eBay or something,” Baumann said. “This is a full blown storefront, where you have business hours posted.”

He added: “There’s clear pictures online. You can see that the place is full of guns.”

Dude, you live in Colorado. I guarantee that Jason Pratt’s house isn’t the only one in Greenwood Village full of guns. In fact, according to Pratt, who runs Tomcat Tactical as more of a side business while remaining fully employed in the aerospace industry, there are probably several homes in the community with far more guns than he typically has on hand.

Pratt has told city council members that his customers include single women concerned about their safety and intimidated by firearm stores, as well as celebrities seeking privacy. He has instructed youth groups on the safe handling of firearms. And he checks that each customer he sells to can properly handle a firearm and has invited neighbors to see how he conducts business.

“I would like to thank my neighbors for expressing their concern for gun safety — it is one that I share and one that I’ve made a career and a livelihood out of,” he said at the February city council meeting. “I maintain a very low and small inventory in the house. I have fewer guns than most individuals own in regular homes. The guns that I do own I keep properly stored.”

None of that matters to the NIMBYs, who frankly, would probably try to completely ban guns from inside the city limits if they had their way. It’s the firearms that they have a problem with, not how Pratt stores them or who he sells to.

Ironically, however, Pratt basically has a monopoly on gun selling in Greenwood Village thanks to the new ordinance, which will block any potential competition from moving in and setting up shop unless they’re able to find a storefront location. And thanks to all the free media attention that Tomcat Tactical has received from the anti-gun activists trying to shut it down, it sounds like Pratt’s staying plenty busy with his gun business. The anti-gun activists in town may have won a victory of sorts by changing the zoning laws, but they haven’t defeated Jason Pratt, and they’re most definitely going to lose their war on the right to keep, bear, and to sell firearms.