In a unanimous 6-0 vote, the Ames City Council voted to ban home gun sales at a meeting Tuesday night.
While the vote was a preliminary one, meaning there will be two more hearings on the ban before it is officially enacted, the decision doesn’t bode well for gun owners.
One man in particular, Greg Seaton, will be greatly affected if the ban passes. Mr. Seaton is a law-abiding gun owner who occasionally sells guns from his home on Utah Drive.
In the past, ornery neighbors have tried to shut down Mr. Seaton’s small, home-based gun sales operation. But Mr. Seaton, through compromise, was able to keep his business alive.
To appease his critics, Mr. Seaton agreed to only conduct business during certain hours of the day and by appointment only. He agreed not to sell ammunition and constructed a special safe to stow the firearms. He also promised to move to a commercial location the minute his business could sustain it.
For his willingness to work together with the community on the matter, the City Council granted him a one-year permit back in April.
But now, the City Council wants to put an end to residential gun sales. It seems that the disgruntled folk around Mr. Seaton have convinced council members that his business is bad news for the neighborhood; that it brings down property values.
“One of the ladies says I wouldn’t buy in this neighborhood if I knew there was a gun dealer, said Ames resident John Lamont, who reignited the debate and proposed the ban to the City Council, at the hearing last night. “Another one said, not only would I not buy in the neighborhood, if I lived in the neighborhood, I’d sell.”
Mr. Seaton, who attended the hearing, pleaded his case as well, telling council members that the complaints against his business are overblown and unreasonable.
“This is not a store by any means,” said Seaton. “There are not people that come to the door and say, ‘Hey, can I look around for a gun?’ And I think that’s a misconception.”
“I leave no footprint whatsoever,” he continued. Adding that, “I have done everything the city has asked.”
But naysayers like Steven Herrnstadt argued that home-based gun sales were simply untenable in Ames.
“This is not a Second Amendment issue; it’s dealing with the neighborhood itself,” he told the Ames Tribune.
Herrnstadt said he was concerned about the lack of regulation the city has on this type of business.
“The impact is emotional, the impact is perception,” he said.
The City Council has agreed to honor the remainder of Mr. Seaton’s one-year permit, but after it expires he will be forced to take his business elsewhere or, worse yet, to shut it down.
As mentioned, there will be two more hearings before the zoning laws are officially amended to ban residential gun sales. Hopefully, Mr. Seaton can rally some local support between now and then to stop what appears to be the inevitable.