Prince William Co. supervisors to reconsider rejected home gun business in Potomac Shores

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The Prince William Board of County Supervisors will reconsider an application for a home gun business in Potomac Shores, which was rejected in September, after the applicant pushed for another hearing.

The board in closed session on Oct. 10 discussed the application that failed Sept. 26. The disapproval came despite a nearly identical home gun store proposal near Manassas being approved during the same meeting.

The board will reconsider the Potomac Shores application on Dec. 5 at 7 p.m. The business, proposed to be located at the Cockspur Lane home of Robert and Michelle Dawson, asked to be permitted to sell guns online and provide in-person background checks, with walk-in customers by appointment only.

The application was rejected when Occoquan Supervisor Kenny Boddye, who backed the Manassas store, opposed Dawson’s application in response to concerns voiced during the public hearing and the home’s proximity to schools.

Dawson felt like the board unfairly singled out his application, and he took steps to challenge the ruling he called “capricious,” suggesting to county officials he had plans to pursue legal action against the board.

“I would certainly appreciate the opportunity to discuss this matter with you further if I can provide any additional details,” Dawson said in an email to County Executive Christopher Shorter. “Just as importantly though, as a 20+ year resident of the County I would respectfully ask that you work with the Board to have a motion for reconsideration of my SUP entered at the next Board meeting and that you would implore the Board to reconsider their vote in light of the information I have provided and save the County further action and costs.”

Coles District Supervisor Yesli Vega, a Republican who supported Dawson’s application, pushed for the board to publicly discuss why it opposed his business proposal, but talks were ultimately brought into closed session.

“We should not be doing the people’s business, secretly, behind closed doors, in any form or fashion, especially when the Board’s arbitrary decisions have such a negative impact on their livelihood,” Vega wrote in an email to Shorter and County Attorney Michelle Robl.

The night the board rejected Dawson’s application, supervisors voted to allow Mark Sicat, owner of a home on Wheeler Ridge Drive near Sudley Road, to transform his residence into a storefront where he can sell commercial and historical guns while also assembling and modifying guns with simple tools.

Chair Ann Wheeler, Potomac Supervisor Andrea Bailey and Woodbridge Supervisor Angela Franklin — all Democrats — opposed Sicat’s application, while other members of their party, including Neabsco Supervisor Victor Angry and Boddye backed it.

Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson, Gainesville Supervisor Bob Weir and Vega, all Republicans, supported Sicat’s application.

Several similar home gun stores have been approved in the county in recent years. In 2022, the board approved Sure Short Gunsmithing LLC, a store run out of a Nokesville home.

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