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Stafford BZA grants home firearm sales permits

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Two Stafford County homeowners are one step closer to conducting firearm-related businesses out of their homes in the Hartwood District.

The Board of Zoning Appeals granted the homeowners’ special-exception requests at a Tuesday night meeting. The businesses would classify as rural home businesses, which are allowed in agriculturally zoned areas by special exception from the board.

Danielle Gilason plans to conduct firearm transfer services out of her home that sits on a 3.67-acre parcel on Summer Breeze Lane in The Willows subdivision. George Weidner, who lives on a 5-acre parcel on Barrington Woods Boulevard in the Barrington Woods subdivision, applied to conduct Internet and expo-show firearm and ammunition sales out of his home.

Both Gilason and Weidner would mainly act as middle men.

In Gilason’s case, customers would purchase firearms online from a manufacturer or distributor. The manufacturer or distributor would then send the firearm to Gilason’s home, where Gilason would screen the customer through a background check. Gilason would charge a fee for the service.

Gilason stated in her special-exception request that her address will only be used as a business and shipping address for items and will not be used as a point of retail sales. She did not expect the firearm to stay in her home for a prolonged period.

“This will be a federally licensed business and a person will, from time to time, come to this residence to complete a firearm transfer transaction or background check,” Zoning Manager Melody Musante wrote in the memorandum of the special exception request.

Gilason said that she will provide four off-street parking spaces, but only anticipates three customers per week, according to her special-exception request. No signs associated with the business will be posted.

Weidner will not deal with firearm transfers. He will bulk-buy ammunition, paraphernalia, reloading supplies and equipment from manufacturers or distributors and then sell them online or at gun shows. Some of the items he sells online will be sent directly from the distributor’s warehouse. Most of the time, Weidner said, he sells or delivers the products at a site away from his home. He also plans to repair and modify firearms from his home, which will rarely require a customer to come to his home. He will provide seven off-street parking spaces, but stated in his application that he does not expect daily traffic.

The weapons and ammunition will be stored in a fireproof vault in the home.

After Weidner receives his federal firearm license, or FFL, he will begin to slowly introduce firearms into his inventory, he stated in his special-exception request. The FFL could take three to six months to acquire, he added.

Weidner will still have to acquire a federal firearms license. Gilason will have to clear another hurdle and get approval from The Willows homeowners association in addition to obtaining a federal firearms license.

That will likely present an obstacle for Gilason after several association representatives spoke against the business proposal on Tuesday.

Douglas Levy, a lawyer with Rees Broome PC, spoke as a lawyer for the homeowners association.

“This is out of line with what the residents of the community would want to see going on,” Levy said.

He added that while the applicant is considering the best-case scenario, the board must consider the worst-case scenario such as what will happen when someone is denied their firearm inside Gilason’s home.

Levy said that he was speaking on behalf of four to five subdivision residents who were against the proposal. He later added that the board of directors for the homeowners association also were opposed to the business due to safety concerns.

Gilason argued that the availability of an authorized pickup location for firearm purchases would make it easier for customers and make the community safer. She said the interest in the business grew out of a concern of manufacturers selling guns and not knowing who was at the other end.

The seven-member board approved Gilason’s special-exception request, with board member Ray Davis casting the sole dissenting vote. Weidner’s request was granted unanimously. The board’s approval came with several stipulations including the prohibition of any sale of items in the home. The homeowners must sell all items online or away from their homes.

Vanessa Remmers: 540/735-1975


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