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Town’s code revision committee still looking at potential legislation to limit where firearm businesses can operate

The Town Board is moving forward with potential legislation to set regulations on the sale of guns, according to officials. 

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar had said in July that there was no support on the board for proposed regulations on that issue that was subject to an earlier public hearing, but on Tuesday said that it is before the town’s code revision committee.

The question dealing with where guns can be sold or fired at a range in the town had caught the attention of residents, especially those living near the section of Elton Street where gun sales and a firing range have been proposed. Phil Barbado, co-founder and president of the Riverhead Neighborhood Preservation Coalition, said that he and Coalition members “are very concerned that the Town Board has not moved forward with the firearms business use” code revision. 

He added that the Town Board held a public hearing on June 21 on a proposal that was well received, but the board has yet to adopt any of the proposed changes.

“The time to act is now,” he said. 

Ms. Aguiar and other officials said Tuesday that the issue is moving forward. Councilman Tim Hubbard said he is on the town’s code revision committee and that committee meets next on Aug. 15.

“We will be discussing it thoroughly there,” Mr. Hubbard said. 

Councilman Ken Rothwell is also on that committee, the supervisor said. Ms. Aguiar credited Mr. Hubbard with moving the issue forward, and said she also instructed the town’s building and planning administrator, Jefferson Murphree, to address the issue in the town’s comprehensive plan revision. 

Mr. Barbado said “this is not a Second Amendment issue, it’s a safety issue.” 

Former Councilwoman Barbara Blass said she is “delighted to hear this is in code revision committee. However, she said resolving this issue would take more than a year. The current zoning allows firearms to be sold in as many as 12 districts within the town, she said. These include commercial and residential areas. 

Ms. Aguiar said the Town Board isn’t waiting for the comprehensive plan to be finished before they address the firearms issue. 

Resident Kathy McGraw said the code revision committee meetings are not open to the public. She said the town should form a committee comprised of residents and officials on this issue, much like it did on the cannabis issue. 

The town this week received 16 letters regarding “firearms business uses” that voiced support to amend the town code to “move forward with the firearms business use code revision.”

“I was disappointed that the Town Board will not be discussing in a public forum the issues raised at a recent public hearing on the proposed firearms code,” wrote Sid Bail, the president of the Wading River Civic Association.