Debate heated over home-based commercial gun sales in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Debate heated over home-based commercial gun sales in Dubuque

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A hot topic in Dubuque has people up in arms over gun rights, but this time the issue is about gun sales, not gun ownership.

Some people in Dubuque are working to ban home-based commercial gun sales in the city.

It all started this winter with a group of neighbors, who went through the appropriate channels to successfully ban one neighbor in particular from selling guns out of his home, citing safety concerns.

After that, those neighbors decided to pursue making the ban city-wide. Bill Dodd is among those working to ban the commercial sale of guns in residential neighborhoods.

"It's two dangerous products -- firearms and ammunition -- that need to be sold in a commercial area, not in a residential area," Dodd said.

However, he added, he and others fighting to ban home-based gun businesses in Dubuque are not opposed to gun use or sales in general.

"We feel strongly about prohibiting the commercial selling of guns in the residential area, and we're not infringing on anyone's rights to keep and bear arms," he said.

John Kemps disagrees.

You couldn't tell by the outside of Kemps' Dubuque home that inside is a licensed gun shop. For decades, he has had his federal permit to sell firearms out of his home. He said he's never had any problems with crime, theft or safety.

"It's not a problem for parking, it's not a problem for anything else. All my stock is locked up and secured. It's not a problem," Kemps said.

While a ban on home-based gun businesses in Dubuque wouldn't affect Kemps' sales, as he'd be grandfathered in, he said he wonders why the city would contemplate fixing something he considers to be not broken.

"It's been around. It hasn't caused any problems anywhere else, and even the authorities say, 'We've had absolutely no problems with it whatsoever,'" Kemps claimed.

The proposed ban would only affect commercial sales in residential areas and would not affect selling one's personal gun to a friend or family member, for example.

At Monday night's city council meeting, members voted five to two in favor of passing the first reading of the ban. Council members Kevin Lynch and David Resnick voted against it.

If eventually passed, the city would add firearm sales to a list of other banned home-based businesses, which includes beauty and barber shops, welding services and small engine repair.

Home businesses that are allowed in Dubuque include cake decorating, income tax preparations and computer programming.

The city council will take up the second reading of the proposed ban at a later meeting.

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