Daybreak resident hopes to sell firearms from home
Custom guns • Neighbors worry about idea because the subdivision is full of children.
Published: August 13, 2012 08:36PM
Updated: November 30, 2012 11:32PM

Joseph Leigh believed he’d found a way to beat the recession with a new business in his South Jordan home: assembling and selling specialty guns.

Selling firearms from his Daybreak house would be the key to bringing in a salary after Leigh was laid off last year, planning documents filed with the city show. He’d already operated a gun business out of his home when he lived in Pleasant View in 2010 and wanted to retry the endeavor.

But that plan hit a snag when a neighbor raised concerns about gun sales in a subdivision full of children, leading the South Jordan Planning Commission to reject Leigh’s request for a business license to operate the firearms business.

But Leigh isn’t giving up yet, and on Tuesday, he’ll appeal his denial to the commission in an effort to secure a license for his home to operate Leigh Custom Arms LLC. He insists his gun business won’t be a safety hazard.

Leigh has said he intends to sell standard factory firearms upon request, but does not plan to carry inventory. Should his business grow to that point, Leigh told city planners he would move assembly and sales to a regular storefront.

“Pre-manufactured parts will be ordered from several outside vendors and those parts will be assembled into the firearm,” Leigh told city planners in an appeal letter. Leigh has an active federal license that allows him to manufacture firearms, a process he likened to assembling bicycles, according to city documents.

Leigh said he also plans to offer gun training, with classroom work and target shooting taking place off-site from his home as part of his business.

Licenses like the one Leigh requested, however, can be a hard sell to the commission, which is required by a city ordinance to deny a license for a home occupation business if any neighbors voice objections, said South Jordan City Planner Jake Warner. Notices were sent out to all residents within 300 feet of Leigh’s home, Warner said.

The planning board denied Leigh’s request last month based on a neighbor’s letter of concern about locating such a “high-risk” business in a residential area teeming with children, “where the homes are at times not even 10 feet from door to door.”

Leigh’s chance to get a business license for his home isn’t over yet, though. City ordinance allows applicants to appeal, Warner said, which Leigh filed late last month.

In his letter of appeal, Leigh pledged to install steel grates over basement window wells and to keep all guns under lock and key. He also said it would take three to six weeks to fill customer orders.

“This waiting period, along with the cost of the gun, is not typical for someone who would want to purchase a gun to commit a crime,” Leigh told planners.

Warner said it’s likely the planning board will grant Leigh’s request if all impacts can be mitigated. That approval, however, could later be appealed to the City Council, where Leigh’s request for a business license could again be shot down.

In early July, Holladay’s Planning Commission approved a similar home-based firearms business over robust objections from neighboring residents. However, they did not pursue recourse from the City Council within the allowed 10-day period and any further appeal must be filed in court.

In other action, South Jordan’s planning board will also consider a conditional use permit Tuesday for the city’s first indoor shooting range in a commercial zone at 1231 W. South Jordan Parkway. The new business, called “The Gun Vault,” will also sell firearms.

cmckitrick@sltrib.com

twitter: @catmck

Home-based gun sales in Daybreak?

The South Jordan Planning Commission meets at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 1600 W. Towne Center Drive. The board will consider a home-based firearms business, and also the city’s first indoor shooting range at another location.