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September 23, 2014

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Neighboring casinos want to shoot down high-end gun store proposed for Shoppes at Palazzo

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Piazza at the Shoppes in the Palazzo.

Shoppes at Palazzo

Shoppers pass by a Salvatore Ferragamo shop in a retail area of the $1.9 billion Palazzo Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada January 18, 2008. The Palazzo and Venetian complex will represent the world's largest integrated destination resort, with 7,128 hotel rooms and 2.3 million square feet of meeting, convention and exhibition space. Launch slideshow »

Map of Shoppes at the Palazzo

Shoppes at the Palazzo

3325 S. Las Vegas Blvd., Las Vegas

A political fight that will undoubtedly tug at the heartstrings of gun-lovers and haters throughout Clark County is about to erupt over plans for a new store on the Las Vegas Strip.

Against the wishes of attorneys for the Venetian and Wynn resorts, operators of the Shoppes at Palazzo mall obtained a use permit for a Beretta gun store and shooting range from the Clark County Planning Commission.

The Palazzo adjoins the Venetian. General Growth Properties, not the Venetian, operates both the malls inside the Palazzo and the Venetian. The Beretta store would occupy about 19,000 square feet of the Shoppes.

What do the lawyers and other casinos have against the Beretta store?

During a presentation Tuesday night before the Planning Commission, Fred Kraus, Venetian vice president and general counsel, said putting a gun store inside of a casino is “a tragedy waiting to happen.”

Kraus, who hinted that if Clark County didn’t kill this idea a court battle was likely, said the gun store would be a half-story from a casino and an exit to the Strip.

“They say you can’t buy ammunition but you can take a gun off site,” Kraus said. “Our worst fear is the wrong person takes a gun, has ammunition secreted away outside the place and uses the casino floor as a firing range.”

Kraus also said a gun store/shooting range wasn’t compatible with the other high-end stores in the mall. The Shoppes aren’t known for their bread-and-butter stores or comfort-food restaurants. Bellusso, Canali, Piazza Sempione and Viaggi, to say nothing of Victoria’s Secret, Rare Books and Barneys are some of the stores. You won’t find Pizza Hut or Cane’s there, either.

On the other hand, Greg Borgel, representing the Italian gunmaker, said this store would be one of a handful of high-end Beretta outlets, similar to one on New York City’s Madison Avenue. He said a single Beretta shotgun can sell for as much as $200,000.

The store must have some pretty strident safety measures planned, right?

It does, but Kraus attempted to use that fact against the store. He said the volume of security measures “is an indication of the dangerousness of this application.”

He summarized one security provision as “all store employees will refuse access to anyone who appears to them to be strange, unstable, alcohol on their breath, agitated.”

“This one security feature alone is premised … upon a store employee being able to pick out someone who is unstable or agitated,” he said. “I don’t know how you identify someone like that.”

Did the Planning Commission agree?

No. One planning commissioner even verged on calling Kraus a hypocrite, because the Venetian & Sands Expo is home to The Shot Show every year, at which gun makers exhibit their wares. However, Venetian attorneys said, exhibited guns have firing pins removed and guns are not sold at the show.

But J. Dapper, who sits on the Planning Commission, said nowhere in the Venetian’s agreement with General Growth Properties does it prohibit gun stores in the Shoppes mall. How did the lawyers answer that?

“I don’t think anyone dreamed, all the New York lawyers who worked on this, dreamed of a firing range in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip,” Kraus replied. In backup documents, county staff noted Silverton casino already had a store that sold guns. Kraus dismissed the Silverton as not comparable to the Venetian. Commissioner Donna Tagliaferri seemed to take offense at that notion.

“They say they have a better clientele than the Silverton; they’re not much different,” she said. She also dismissed the notion that the store would lead to a casino shooting.

“People are going to do what they’re going to do. I don’t know if this is going to say to a crazed killer, ‘Oh, I have carte blanche at the Palazzo.’”

Isn’t there a 72-hour waiting period for guns in Clark County, which would prevent that immediate, albeit “crazed,” reaction?

The 72-hour period applies to pistols. Everyone but law enforcement personnel and those who already own a registered gun must adhere to the waiting period. More specifically, county code says the waiting period doesn’t apply to someone “who currently owns a pistol which is duly registered in his name with any law enforcement agency in Clark County.”

Gun store operators contacted by the Sun said neither the state nor county requires a waiting period for rifles or shotguns.

The Planning Commission voted 4-1 for the store. Greg Esposito voted no. Why?

Esposito said he worried about people walking into the Palazzo with their own guns, thinking they’d be allowed to use the Beretta shooting range. That won’t be allowed, but he doesn’t think everyone will realize that right away.

But since heavy hitters like the Wynn also wrote a letter protesting the store, this will be appealed, right?

Sources say the Venetian plans to appeal the Planning Commission’s decision to the Clark County Commission.

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  1. If the casinos don't want it. It won't happen. Especially on their own home ground. If somehow it would happen, the store would be more like a museum with all the unlawful rules that would be placed upon it. The store wouldn't make more than an admission charge. Casino fears are unwarranted since no one commits a robbery with a $200K shotgun.

  2. There should be no argument, it is a legal store and has every right to be in a place where the county allows stores.

    The people that can afford to buy the guns at the price this store is going to charge, have probably already figured out how to rob us legally.

  3. The Insurance company of The Venetian and Palazzo might have something to say about this. Just wait when tourists start running into people carrying Guns on The Strip - the Foreign Business will go elsewhere, and Casino Security will freak out. Just don't call METRO.

  4. There are people walking around with CCW's, what would the difference be?

    As stated by Jazzy high end Beretta shotguns are more art than practical.

    Also if someone is braindead enough to buy a Beretta pistol they deserve to be fleeced.

  5. In the interest in keeping the peace, dispensing guns in such a location seems troublesome. Perhaps guns could be sold for future delivery, at a time and place less likely to cause concern.

  6. Another lucrative business strategically located to make money, and, in addition, they arm the tourists, officially declare open season, and have them shoot "porn slappers," water vendors, and costumed characters on the Strip.

    Just another innovative idea by the County Commissioners.....

  7. I'm surprised how many people few people seem to realize that there are already 8 gun stores within 3 blocks of strip casinos.

    So you're worried that a psycho might walk into the Shoppes at Palazzo and buy a gun, having already obtained ammunition for it elsewhere, and go on a killing spree in the casino....but have no concern that the same psycho could walk one block off the strip to a store that sells both guns and ammo (at a far lower price) and do the same?

  8. It makes complete sense to allow this store to open. The part that doesn't make sense is the 72 hour waiting period for a handgun. The 2nd amendment and the right to bear arms is all based on checks and balances against tyrannical government. All other arguments are moot because they regard safety of a mere few individuals under adverse conditions. I forget who said it, but "you cannot legislate new law due to the acts of mad men..." which is pretty much along the same lines of not negotiating with terrorists. Anyways, I am for this new store 100% and I say people SHOULD be allowed even to bring their own fire arms and shoot at the Beretta store if the store wanted.

  9. Looking past all the silly arguments, pro and con, concerning safety and/or the right to run a business, to me, a casino shopping mall is not an appropriate venue for a shooting range; just as the same location would not be suitable for a strip club, a Walmart Super-Store, or a Luxury Car Dealership.

  10. Chunky says:

    The Lamborghini store at the Venetian sells 500+++ HP cars to anyone with a license and the money. Actually, do you need a license to buy one? It could be argued that someone with a high-performance car or a junker could buy it with the purpose of killing a group or individual.

    Cars don't kill people, people kill people and guns are inanimate objects like a car until they are used properly or improperly.

    The last time Chunky checked, Nevada, Clark County and the Strip are open carry as it should be if an individual desires to do so. As for the Chunks family, we're CCW fans whether the casinos or anyone else likes it or not. Except of course where it's illegal to do so like schools and government buildings; even then that's infringing on our 2A rights but we'll abide to it only because we have to else they'll take what little firearm rights we have left away for any excuse they can trump up.

    The only thing Chunky likes about Berettas is they are stylish works of art. He wouldn't want to wager his life on one in a gunfight though.

    Open the store, vote out the politicians and restore the Constitutional Rights of our country!

    That's what Chunky thinks!

  11. There are more guns in Las Vegas than one can count. The chances of anyone buying one to use immediately in a nearby casino are about as good as me dating the last five Miss Americas in the next month.

    At any given time I'd bet there are local gun owners with concealed carry permits at almost any location where they can legally go, including the strip.

    What the real agenda here is I don't know, but I can't believe these folks who object really believe the store presents a public safety problem, unless they are woefully ignorant about the facts. Something doesn't pass the smell test.