Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo man wins right to run gun business out of his apartment

Richard Lander, 36, plans to sell firearms out of his apartment in Largo. He sued the city last July after his permit was denied.

DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times (2010)

Richard Lander, 36, plans to sell firearms out of his apartment in Largo. He sued the city last July after his permit was denied.

LARGO — Richard Lander might get to sell guns from his home after all.

The city settled its lawsuit last week with Lander, the Australian transplant who wants to sell firearms over the Internet from the apartment he shares with his wife and four children.

In 2010, Largo Community Development director Carol Stricklin denied Lander's application for a home office permit. Stricklin said the proposed Internet gun shop was "not consistent with maintaining the character of a residential neighborhood."

Lander, 36, sued Stricklin and the city last July. The National Rifle Association's Civil Rights Defense Fund paid his legal tab. No money changed hands under the settlement, which City Attorney Alan Zimmet announced at Tuesday's commission meeting, but the city agreed to approve Lander's permit.

Lander, who works with his wife, Myra, at a postcard marketing company, lives in Brittany Bay Apartments on Seminole Boulevard. Brittany Bay management did not return a call for comment last week. Lander said he has gotten approval for a home business, but admitted he didn't disclose the nature of his business. When asked what he would do if apartment management barred him from starting Fortress Armory (his company's proposed name), Lander said he'd give up rather than move his family.

"I'm pretty much over being concerned about this whole thing," he said. "There's only so much I'm going to fight."

Lander had sought $15,000 or more in damages from Largo for lost income, but dropped the demand in the settlement.

"Our primary goal was to get him his permit to sell firearms," said Ben Cristal, Lander's attorney, who also represents the Tampa Bay Times in workers' compensation cases. "That's what we got, and that's fine with us."

Lander is awaiting a new federal firearms license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The bureau approved him for a license in 2010, but the license languished during the legal battle.

Once licensed, Lander will start looking for guns he can buy, customize for shooting competitions, then resell. Lander would ship his sold guns to licensed firearms dealers near his customers, and dealers would complete applicable background checks, in adherence with federal law.

Lander owns an AK-47 rifle, a pump-action shotgun and a Glock pistol. His company will be modest, he said, and he won't have more guns in his apartment at one time than what can fit in his locked hallway closet.

When this issue first arose in 2010, Largo police Capt. Brian Browne told city management that, despite his personal reservations, he didn't think Largo could legally oppose Lander's business. Zimmet disagreed, though. The lawsuit cost Largo $4,700 in legal fees, according to Assistant City Attorney Mary Hale.

On Tuesday night, Zimmet told commissioners a recent change in state law "significantly reduced the city's ability to regulate anything to do with weapons."

Zimmet didn't specify which law and he was unavailable for comment later in the week. Florida Statute 790.33 bans local governments from enacting gun laws. That law, which makes gun control solely the domain of the state Legislature, has been in place since 1987, though. The Legislature did update it in 2011, adding provisions allowing penalties of up to $100,000 against local governments that try to enforce their own gun laws.

Cristal was surprised to hear Zimmet cited a law as the reason the city gave in. Cristal had a different theory for why the city agreed to settle:

"I think they just realized they were eventually going to have to give in."

Will Hobson can be reached at (727) 445-4167 or whobson@tampabay.com. To write a letter to the editor, go to tampabay.com/letters.

Largo man wins right to run gun business out of his apartment 10/06/12 [Last modified: Saturday, October 6, 2012 2:52pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Lightning's Steven Stamkos looks close to top form in first game since November

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Lightning captain Steven Stamkos was curious how he would feel — and perform — in Friday's exhibition against Nashville, his first game since mid-November knee surgery.

    The Lightning’s Alex Killorn, left, makes his preseason debut and has an assist in a 3-1 win against the Predators at Amalie Arena.
  2. Steven Souza Jr. vindicating big trade for Rays

    The Heater

    BALTIMORE — There was a time when the three-team, 11-player transaction the Rays orchestrated to get Steven Souza Jr. from the Nationals looked liked a bad deal.

    The Rays’ Steven Souza Jr. has 30 home runs this season while improving his defense and baserunning but wants to improve on his .236 batting average.
  3. Fennelly: Lightning's Manon Rheaume made history 25 years ago Saturday

    Lightning Strikes

    The name is part of Lightning history, hockey history, sports history.

    Lightning goalie Manon Rheaume became the first woman to play in an NHL game 25 years ago today.
  4. Investigators reviewing HHS chief's private charter flights

    Politics

    WASHINGTON — Federal investigators are examining Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price's recent use of costly charter flights on the taxpayers' dime for official business.

  5. FSU gives president John Thrasher a pay bump as its academic standing rises

    College

    TALLAHASSEE — With Florida State University moving closer to becoming a top-25 public university, the school's trustees on Friday bumped up President John Thrasher's salary by 7 percent and awarded him a $200,000 bonus.

    Florida State University President John Thrasher, center, is surrounded by lawmakers in 2016 as he visits the Florida Senate. Thrasher on Friday received a pay increase to go with the university's increased academic standing, including in the latest U.S. News & World Report ranking of public universities. FSU ranks 33rd this year, and is aiming for a top-25 spot. [SCOTT KEELER   |   Times]