The Fargo City Commission will decide whether to allow commercial gun sales from residences. For almost two decades, the city has justifiably banned commercial gun sales from homes.
Let’s be clear: This isn’t an infringement of anyone’s Second Amendment right to bear firearms. This is about a city, through its zoning laws, deciding what commercial activity is and isn’t permitted in its residential neighborhoods.
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Who wants to live next door to a gun dealer?
Even if someone knows and trusts a neighbor who sells guns, they understandably could be more than a little uncomfortable with the idea that strangers would be walking out of a neighbor's home with guns.
Why are we even having this discussion?
The issue was raised by a gun dealer who wants the convenience of selling guns from his home. Under Fargo’s current law — which city commissioners should uphold — anyone who buys a gun must pick it up at one of seven licensed firearms dealers, whose sales are monitored by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
What is so onerous about that?
We live, after all, in a time when consumers are increasingly buying items online. Often those packages are delivered to their doorstep. But sometimes, people arrange to pick up their purchases at a brick-and-mortar store.
In fact, the practice of ordering online and picking up purchases in a store is becoming increasingly common. It’s a way for brick-and-mortar retailers to remain viable. And, in the age of the coronavirus, it’s a way for consumers to minimize their exposure.
Once again, what is so bad about having to pick up a gun at a dealer’s shop?
This issue has been before the city since January. City commissioners voted to send the proposed change to the Planning Commission for review.
The Planning Commission decided, 5-3, to reject the proposed change and preserve the ban on commercial gun sales in residential neighborhoods.
That’s the right call. The City Commission should uphold that decision. This is a matter of zoning, pure and simple.
Fargo has done the right thing by restricting commercial gun sales to commercial areas. That’s served the city well for 19 years. There is no clamor from citizens for a change. Let’s not open a door that could impinge on the integrity of our residential neighborhoods.
Yes, gun owners have rights. But the right to bear arms doesn’t mean a right to buy a gun from a dealer in a residential neighborhood. Let’s not forget that homeowners have rights, too.