June 15, 2012
Fri Jun 15, 2012, 05:54 AM EDT
A rural Miami County man received a variance Thursday to operate a gunsmithing shop from his home, but only after members of the Miami County Board of Zoning and Building Appeals expressed concerns about the safety of the new business.
Dewayne D. Yocum, who lives east of Macy, said he wanted the variance to repair guns, buy gun parts and sell special-order guns.
He said he needed the variance so he could apply for a federal license to purchase restricted gun parts.
“I’m not interested in having 300 or 400 guns on the wall,” he said. “Basically, if you want a gun and I can get it for you at a better price, I’ll order it specifically.”
Yocum noted he had a shooting range on the property. That raised concerns with board member Eldon Overman, who said using the range as part of the business created a liability problem.
“On the selling side, I’m a little hesitant to allow you to have a shooting range to sell a gun,” he said. “But I have no problem if it’s for your own personal use.”
County Building Commissioner Brian Engel also asked if the shooting range would put farmers in danger who work in surrounding fields.
Yocum said the range requires shots be fired downhill and into an 8-foot-high bunker. He argued it didn’t create a safety hazard.
Jim Christenson, a neighbor who said he owned land south of Yocum’s property, said he had no problem with a shooting range.
“It’s a safe place to shoot,” he said. “I know if Dewayne is doing it that it’ll be safe and according to regulations.”
Overman also said he wanted to limit the number of guns Yocum could have at one time as part of the business. Yocum said he wasn’t opposed to the idea.
The board then passed an amendment to the variance limiting the business to holding 15 guns at one time.