EDEN PRAIRIE – The city of Eden Prairie is considering a temporary, one-year ban on new gun stores opening within city limits, which could pave the way for new zoning laws after the completion of a study about public safety.
The city council passed an “first reading” of the measure this week, but a moratorium would not take effect until it passes a second reading. The council did, however, separately approve one-year moratoriums on pawn shops and “adult use” shops to allow for similar studies to take place. Mayor Nancy Tyra-Lukens said she felt emboldened to act after attending a national conference this month, in which two Parkland school shooting survivors shared their stories with the audience.
"Hiding in a closet with 60 students, hearing their classmates murdered," she said at this week's council meeting. "Something has to be done, and I think it has to start with local comunities."
After 12 months of studying the impact on public safety with a moratorium in place, the council could then rework zoning codes in order to place restrictions on gun stores. They may have to be located a certain distance from schools, day cares or churches, for example.
The gun store moratorium proposal, which passed the first reading by a 3-2 vote, would not affect the few stores that currently sell firearms in Eden Prairie.
Still, Daniel Arnzen, the owner of “Arnzen Arms,” said it sets the wrong precedent.
"It's not a protection for public safety or health. It's a protection of people's certain feelings because gun stores make them uncomfortable... which I don't think zoning is about making people comfortable," Arnzen said. "The reason they're doing this is because they feel they need to do something about the gun violence situation in America, and this is really all they can do."
The mayor, however, would argue that it's a concrete step that could add more stringent zoning codes.
"It is the responsibility of our council," she said this week, "to help our residents be safe."