(UPDATE Feb. 24)– Tonight at 7 pm the Planning and Zoning Commission will meet again to discuss two residents’ proposal to start a home-based Internet gun store in a residential neighborhood.
The commission instructed the DeLuca brothers to get a revised, more detailed, letter signed by their “immediate neighbors” proving their consent for the store to be opened.
Tonight’s meeting will take place at City Hall, 54 Hill street and will also discuss other new and tabled items, such as the lease signing for the Crabtree property.
A proposed home-based firearms business will have to be approved by neighbors before going forward.
The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) ruled that Dan and Mike DeLuca of Shelton will have to get a signed letter from surrounding neighbors indicating they are aware and comfortable with an online firearms store being based out of a Huntington home.
The DeLucas owned MD Shooting Sports in Monroe until it closed in December. Mike DeLuca said the change from an actual gun store to an ecommerce business was a strictly financial decision.
“In Connecticut it’s almost to the point where it doesn’t make sense to have a gun store because of the increased regulations,” he said. “What we’re doing is we’re taking that part out so that we can still do the ecommerce state-to-state.”
Danny DeLuca said 85% of their store’s business prior to its closing was Federal Firearms License (FFL) transfers from state-to-state. An FFL is a license in the United States that enables an individual or a company to engage in a business pertaining to the manufacture or importation of firearms and ammunition, or the interstate and intrastate sale of firearms.
According to mdshootingsports.com, both “Mike and Danny’s interest in firearms was sparked at a young age and they specialize in the selling of antique and collectable/military firearms.
Mike DeLuca said they received the approval from their neighbors and presented the board with letters.
Shelton P&Z Commission Chairman Ruth Parkins, along with other board members, acknowledged the letters presented, but said they needed to be rewritten and distributed to the neighbors again because they didn’t describe what they would be selling out of their Huntington home.
Mike DeLuca defended the business by saying they are only doing shipping and receiving and his neighbors have already been in their Monroe store.
“We were asked to go to our three neighbors and when we did we told them ‘Our gun store will be moving into our house,’” Mike DeLuca said. “Whether I called it ‘ecommerce’, which is what it is, it’s an ecommerce business, I don’t see where that makes all that much of a difference. These letters were not just put in their mailboxes, we went to their doors and we told them that we were going to do an internet gun store. They all signed off,” said Mike DeLuca. “Our business has nothing to do with the public. The deal is between FFL dealers and that’s all.”
Board member Jimmy Tickey said he would feel more comfortable if all the neighbors were made aware of the details of the business.
“I wouldn’t be able to vote in good conscience if I don’t know all of the neighbors within a radius that we could notify what type of business that it is. I think the neighbors deserve to know what type of business it is,” Tickey said. “It seems like you have a solid process, I don’t doubt that and everything you’ve explained but I think the neighbors should know more than what was in the letter. I read the letter.”
“The commission is not going to vote favorably unless they get the letters that acknowledge that the residents here are aware of what is being sold,” said Parkins.
The store will have no signs and all sales will be made online. DeLuca said the point of keeping the location of the business discreet is for safety reasons and keeping foot traffic to a bare minimum. They also said they will not sell ammunition and all firearms sold will be secured in a safe prior to their distribution.
“We don’t intend to keep stock. If we have or buy an antique firearm it may stay in the house a week until it’s sold,” said Danny DeLuca. “But they’ll be locked up in gun safes. They are fireproof and explosion proof safes. You’d probably destroy my house before you get into the safe.”
Shelton currently is home to two other gun stores; Charter Arms and Valley Firearms.
Shelton P&Z opted not to make a formal decision at its Feb. 9 meeting, but will meet again Feb. 24. when the DeLuca brothers will present their modified letters.