(KMOV.com) – City officials Pacific on Tuesday night approved the business license for a pawn shop that will sell guns and is located about a block from a school.
The vote passed 4-2, and if the mayor signs the order, the business can go forward with a conditional use permit. The council approved the permit, going against recommendations from Pacific's Planning and Zoning Commission which advised against allowing the pawn shop to operate in that location.
Owner, Grant Thornton says his business would not cause a nuisance to nearby businesses, churches or schools.
The original outrage was a product of the fact that Throton’s business would sell guns so close to a church and the St. Bridget of Kildare School. The pawn shop would open near the intersection of Union and 1st, which had some residents upset because they say it’s too close to kids.
Principal Pat Herbst said it became clear that the city does not have a master plan for development or rules that address pawn shop operations near schools.
She says she would ask the city to consider coming up with a clear development plan, "What would you like to see in this community? Five years down the road? Ten years down the road? Look at this immediate area as it is today and the surrounding area. What would you like to see tomorrow?"
Thorton argues that he’s not running a gun shop, but a pawn shop that would sell guns.
“I’m within my rights to have property used as I see fit as long as it fits with the zoning requirements and at the same time they have burdens to give me rules to abide by which I’m willing to do,” he said.
Thornton says he won't put bars on the windows or change the asthetic of the building, complying with conditions of his permit. He says he expects the city to take another look at the permit in a year.
Pacific Police Chief Matt Mansell says, "I always have a safety concern. Is it heightened over this? To a degree, but I'm not to the point where I'm going to be losing sleep over it."
Chief Mansell points to state laws that regulate pawn shops. He says most keep better records than many gun sellers. Chief Mansell says that Pacific officers regularly check for compliance of record keeping rules.
According to Mansell there are no legal issues with having a gun shop or pawn shop in close proximity to a school. Under Missouri