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Council rules against gun-shop owner's appeal

The last gun-shop owner in Minneapolis lost his zoning appeal Friday and will soon be told to stop doing business.

The City Council unanimously voted against Mark Koscielski's zoning appeal for his store at 2926 Chicago Av. S.

Koscielski intends a court fight, but he also said he will follow any cease-and-desist order. "Once I get that in my hand I will abide by that. In the next three to four weeks we hope to get an injunction and get back in business," he said.

Even though he will stop selling guns, he said, his store will remain open selling accessories, posters and Mace, and teaching gun safety classes. "Everything will be the same except for the sale of firearms," he said.

He and his lawyer, Randall Tigue, have said they intend to fight the city on several fronts, including that his business was illegally taken from him without compensation.

Koscielski, who also is running for mayor, has been in a decadelong legal battle over his shop. He opened a store in 1995, days before the council adopted a moratorium on gun shops. The city tried to close it, but federal courts ordered that he be allowed to continue doing business. As a result, he was given a zoning exemption.

In summer 2003, he lost his lease at his first location, and with it his exemption. He said he was forced to rent a site not in compliance with the zoning code, which requires that gun shops be at least 500 feet from a church, school, park or library and 250 feet from a residence.

Rochelle Olson
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