WOODS CROSS -- The Woods Cross Planning Commission met Tuesday to discuss whether Tyler Murri should be granted a conditional-use permit to operate a firearms business from his home.
After Planning Commission Chairman Leo Beecher had to cut the line of speakers short during an open-mic session because of the many residents wishing to share their opinions, the commission voted in Murri's favor, granting him a conditional-use permit to begin operating his business at 1319 W. 1300 South.
Many of Murri's neighbors voiced opposing opinions on the matter. Those attending the commission meeting seemed divided equally, providing a stark contrast between Second Amendment activists in favor of the business and those who worried the presence of such a business would diminish the value and safety of their neighborhood.
"I think the thing most of the people here are worried about is safety," Commissioner Jennifer Bassarear said.
Those who spoke against Murri's business concurred on his right to start a business of his choosing, but they also were of the opinion that a family-filled neighborhood is an "inappropriate venue to distribute firearms."
Many of Murri's neighbors were worried about the kind of people such a business may attract. They voiced their concerns about a possible influx of criminals.
"Web advertisements are an open invitation for criminals," said neighbor Tod Hannah. "They are going to look for an easy target ... It makes this neighborhood more susceptible to crime."
Hannah said he plans to put his home on the market in the near future, and referred to conversations he has had with real estate agents who specialize in the Woods Cross area. He said the presence of a firearm-dealer in a residential area could have a negative impact on real estate values.
"If that affects my real estate dealings ... that affects me personally," Hannah said.
Several members of Murri's community, who claimed to have a lot of experience with firearms and who, in some cases, operate their own similar businesses, spoke in support of Murri, citing a lack of knowledge driving people's opposition.
"They bring up good points," Murri said of those who are against the firearms business, "but most of their complaints rise from a lack of education."
Murri said he has taken many safety measures to meet federal standards set by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives that he said should alleviate his neighbors' concerns.
"I'm going to do my best," Murri said of making his neighbors' wishes a priority.
To ensure safe dealings in his business, Murri said, he has purchased a 64-gun safe, which he said he never expects to fill to capacity. He also installed a central home-alarm system and arranged for deliveries to be held at a United Parcel Service facility rather than be delivered to his home.
Now that a conditional-use permit has been awarded, Murri must await finalization on a federal ATFE permit before finally acquiring a business license to begin operation.
Murri said he hopes to open for business in the next month or so but said it could take longer for his final permits and licenses to go through.