Antique firearms merchant gives in
by Jon Gillooly
jgillooly@mdjonline.com
April 17, 2013 12:19 AM | 2530 views | 8 8 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lamar Cheatham had about 150 guns in his basement vault and firing range in his Marietta home in 2007.<br>Staff/file
Lamar Cheatham had about 150 guns in his basement vault and firing range in his Marietta home in 2007.
Staff/file
slideshow
MARIETTA — Architect Lamar Cheatham opted against a showdown with his neighbors over continuing to sell antique firearms out of his house in northeast Cobb.

Cheatham had initially asked the county to approve a permit to allow him to continue the practice, but Tuesday he asked the Board of Commissioners to withdraw that request.

A victim of the economic downturn, Cheatham said he was forced to move from his Marietta home three years ago to a rental home in northeast Cobb. When he applied for a business license with the county last year to continue dealing in Class 3 weapons, a practice he conducted in Marietta, the county wouldn’t give him one, saying he had to have a zoning variance.

When neighbors learned that he dealt with antique weapons, such as the 1921 Thompson submachine gun that can cost $35,000, they asked the county to deny the request.

One neighbor, Ben Moravitz, told the Cobb Planning Commission earlier this month that Cheatham doesn’t have the same concern for the neighborhood that resident owners have because he’s a renter. Moravitz also complained that allowing Cheatham to operate a commercial business in the neighborhood could harm his own property values. And he said some of the firearm orders could end up at the wrong address and that the neighborhood could be targeted by thieves.

Another neighbor, Greg Holzhauer, said he was concerned about how Cheatham’s firearms were being secured. During the April 2 Planning Commission meeting, board member Judy Williams also took issue with Cheatham being a renter.

On Tuesday, 25 people turned out in opposition of Cheatham’s request for a permit. But before they could speak, Cheatham asked that his request be withdrawn, saying he would move the business to a different location.

Cheatham said he was disappointed by the tactics some in the neighborhood have taken, such as releasing false information about him.

“Some people, because they decided they wanted to do harm to me and my property, painted a target on me by publishing what they knew to be erroneous information,” Cheatham said. “A Class 3 dealer is not allowed to sell high explosives, destructive devices and nobody sells grenades.”

One neighbor who made such a claim was Moravitz, who had told the planning commission that Cheatham sold explosives.

Cheatham said he resented being portrayed as a second-class citizen simply because he rented his home.

“You know, all of you know, with one exception, I’m an architect, and I’m a builder, and I’ve been a developer. I got caught in this downturn,” he said. “But I’ve owned over $20 million worth of property in Cobb County, a lot more than that in Fulton. I had 883 acres in north Cherokee and some DeKalb County property. I don’t like being thought of as a secondary citizen because I’m renting a house.”

Commissioner JoAnn Birrell recommended his request be withdrawn without prejudice on the condition that no business transactions be conducted at his home. Birrell also gave Cheatham 30 days to find another leasing space for his antique firearms business and asked him to send the county a copy of the new business license once he obtained it.

County Chairman Tim Lee said he had many good friends in the Jefferson Township neighborhood.

“I totally understand in light of the current events and communities across this country why there might be some sensitivity to this request,” Lee said during the meeting. “On the other hand, I’ve known Lamar Cheatham for a number of years and can speak to him as an individual to be one of high character and high regard to safety and protocol and respect for those weapons that he has in his homes. And I’m positive that he’s taken more than enough precaution to make sure there’s no potential … that these are anything that might be acquired inappropriately.”
Comments
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anonymous
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April 17, 2013
It's time to move to a more honest and realistic neighborhood. $35,000 for one gun is probably more than anyone in the neighborhood spent on their car.

Any package insured for $35K is not going to be left at the wrong front door.

My gun safe weighs 1500 pounds and is bolted to the floor from the inside, it will take more than two men and a truck to carry it off, and opening the safe on site is impossible. I'm sure Mr Cheatham has his toys equally secured.

One good guy with a gun should be welcomed in any neighborhood!

Gun Safes For Guns
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April 19, 2013
The NRA and Republicans shot down background checks that would help keep the scapegoat mentally ill from obtaining guns.

Can the NRA and Republicans come up with a positive path rather than their usual negativity?

How about a federal tax credit for buying gun safes?

Like you say, they weight 1500 pounds and are unlikely to be carried off. A gun safe is how you keep the Good Guy Guns out of the Bad Guy Hands. A gun safe is how you yourself do not become a straw purchaser for the criminals.

We should offer a full reimbursement up to $2500 tax credit for gun safe purchases, and then anyone who allows their own gun to be stolen ought to be charged with being a willfull and intentional straw purchaser!
Southern Patriot
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April 17, 2013
Perhaps these disgruntled migrants should return to their native states where everyone will think like them. Holzhauer and Moravitz don't sound like old Cobb names to me.
anonymous
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April 17, 2013
He rents, did you read the article..dodo?
GGWARC
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April 17, 2013
The privilege of being a Good Guy With A Rent Check is that when your neighborhood goes downhill like this one did, you can just move! No Worries!

Too bad for Moravitz and Holzhauer who are stuck *(no doubt upside down in their mortgage and line of equities) in the 'hood and worse yet stuck with each other!

I mean seriously what kind of dang fool puts all their money into a single investment like a McMansion? Oh yeah we have that type of dang fools all over the dang place don't we.

Cheatham wins, hands down.

Hope Moravitz and Holzhaer like the vans of Mexicans the landlord will have to rent to now that Moravitz and Holzhaer talked up the supposed DANGER of the the gun nuts coming to that house to buy guns and scared away any potential renters

I sure wouldn't want to answer the door and have to tell a gun nut their gun house is gone!

MDJ needs to open records Moravitz and Holzhaer tax returns to see what sort of business scams they are running (if any) to claim false deductions (that's my BUSINESS car! that laptop is for my BUSINESS, never mind it has never made a profit) and I bet get out of taxes like the Illegals who will soon live next door!
FROM TEXAS
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April 17, 2013
As usual people run their mouths and don’t know anything about historical, collectible, and military collectible weapons. Now if Lamar was selling fake Rolex’s and BMW’s at a discount these same people would be all for him, there’s a lot of plastic millionaires in East Snob Cobb. Lamar has made and lost more money than five of those families would ever see in a lifetime and they know that. Just like the president people keep in front of the newspapers and tell lies, just like Czar Obama saying you don’t need a background check to buy a gun off the internet, try getting a gun from Bud’s guns without an FFL dealer to send it to.
East Cobber
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April 17, 2013
So much for that entrepreneurial spirit. It's a shame his ignorant neighbors harassed Cheatham into pulling his request. I say he should move out and see how another empty house affects their property values.
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