Howard Slaughter, center, waits to speak to Zoning Board of Appeals
BUFFALO, NY - The city's Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday unanimously denied a variance to an east side man, who sought permission to sell legal firearms out of his home in a residentially zoned neighborhood.
Howard Slaughter told WGRZ-TV that his plan never involved having a display of weapons for sale at his house on Adams Street
Instead, Slaughter, a licensed armed security guard, planned to run a sort of mail order operation from his residence in the city's Broadway Fillmore neighborhood.
There, he explained, guns would be individually shipped, upon being ordered by his clients after he assisted them in obtaining permits...and once they completed a firearms safety course which Slaughter --as a certified rifle and pistol instructor-- would teach.
However, Ellicott District Common Council Member Darius Pridgen appeared before the board to remind them of the outcome of a community meeting held one week ago, where neighborhood residents shared their input.
"Of the thirty or so residents who lived nearby and who came to that meeting, they were one hundred percent against this project," Pridgen said.
Early on in the proceeding it appeared Slaughter's request was destined for denial, when board members began raising concerns that guns being could be stolen from Slaughters house, or even from those who arrived to deliver them.
"You really are not protected... you really need to get a secure location," board Chairman James Lewis told Slaughter, while holding up a picture of Slaughter's home.
"We generally favor the neighborhood residents, and their opinions are more important than the one business that might benefit from it," said Zoning Board member Anthony Diina following the vote to deny Slaughter's request.
Diina also said he has no opposition to legal firearms.
"I myself am a licensed firearm owner, and an instructive range officer," he said.
Diina and Lewis also said their votes to deny the application were not swayed by the school shootings in Newtown Connecticut, which have pitched the nation toward a rousing debate on gun control.
"No," said Lewis. "Because the impending danger was still there."
The denial pretty much brings Slaughters bid to sell guns from his home to an end, and when asked he stated he had no plans to open a traditional gun store in a commercially zones area, mostly because he never planned to sell enough guns to support such an operation.
Click on the video player to watch our story from 2 On Your Side Reporter Dave McKinley and Photojournalist Ben Read. Follow Dave on Twitter: @DaveMcKinley2