Legislature May Override Veto of Missouri Gun Bill

A special use permit for an indoor gun range in Washington won first-round approval Monday by the city’s planning commission.

Nicholas Watts, owner of Nick’s Gun and Pawn, located at 1807 E. Fifth St., requested the permit for an addition at the business.

Sal Maniaci, director of community and economic development, said the property is zoned C-2, and an indoor range requires a special use permit in that district.

Plans call for a 60 foot by 60 foot expansion. The property is located on a portion of Fifth Street that has a mix of residential to light industrial uses. 

Maniaci stated the property directly behind the expansion is commercial and the gun range will be completely indoors and screened from neighboring properties.

City staff recommended approval of the special use permit. The commission voted 7-0 to approve the request. Planning board member Carolyn Witt was not at the meeting. Tony Gokenbach abstained from voting due to a possible conflict of interest due to employment. He is employed by Elite Survival Systems.

“Everything looks to be in line,” Gokenbach said. “This will actually enhance safety and training inside the city limits.”

The city council must give final approval of the special use permit.

A parking plan will be required prior to occupancy to ensure they meet the minimum standards, Maniaci said

“There should be plenty of parking but the site plan has to show it,” he said. 

In April, the city council approved a new definition in its codes to allow for an indoor gun range within the city limits. 

“It is not something we would completely disallow but we wanted to have the proper definition,” Maniaci said.

Prior to approval of the code change, indoor gun ranges are not defined as a permitted use in any zoning districts. The code amendment allows indoor gun ranges to be placed in C-2, C-3, M-1 and M-2 zoning districts with a special use permit.

In addition, the city also has an ordinance that states firearms can only be discharged on properties 3 acres or more. That was to protect large property owners in the city if they wished to hunt, however, it inexplicably prohibited gun ranges because it did not specify indoor or outdoor, according to Maniaci.