Residents Express Concern over Residential Firearms Business at Plan Commission

A conditional use request was approved by the City Plan Commission January 15 for an applicant to obtain a federal firearms license and sell firearms and ammunition out of his home on 8th Street.

Resident Chad Breitzke was approved for the same request in 2015 and submitted another for his new residence. No inventory would be held at the residence – customers would leave a message, and Breitzke would then order the items. Customers need to go through state background and ATF checks before obtaining their order.

City staff worked with the police chief, ATF, and the fire department to make sure safety requirements were met. No complaints were received about the business from 2015-2018. As part of the approval of the request, no signage was permitted outside the home.

A resident from the same street expressed concern about the vehicles entering and leaving the home due to the number of children who regularly walk and bike along 8th Street, particularly those coming from Washington Elementary School. She also felt that the existence of business selling firearms and ammunition would negatively affect home values and positive reputation of the neighborhood, and possibly raise homeowner’s insurance. Signatures were gathered from neighbors opposed to the conditional use request.

Alderman Gordy Earll of District 4 was opposed to the permit request, having once lived in the area. “I guess I would ask the Commission – would you feel comfortable with this in your neighborhood?”

Another resident spoke opposing the permit. “We feel that our neighborhood is a highly desired area to live,” he said. “We have lots of parks, schools nearby, a large lot which is very desirable in town.”

Addressing the concerns, Breitzke stated, “I am extremely regulated via the ATF. If I do not abide by their rules and obligations, I don’t have a business…You’re more than welcome to pass judgment, but I will not live within a community where I fear the safety of my neighbors, their children, my significant other’s families and their children. I’m here to protect the citizens, as well as the city Marshfield, and entrepreneurship.”

“The state of Wisconsin has the Wisconsin Act 67,” said Mayor Bob McManus. “Many of the things that came up, as this could possibly decrease the value of our home – those are very, very hard to prove, so we really can’t use that in making a decision.

“I think that one thing that you can prove is that there are citizens there that would be – and two of them have stated, one in a letter we had – that they would live in fear. I don’t believe people should live in fear in their home.”

The motion carried 4-3. No votes were McManus, Hendler, and Rosandich.

News Desk
Author: News Desk