At a time when gun shops and online firearms stores are perpetually sold out of ammunition, a local businessowner hopes to start manufacturing ammo in Bridgeville.
Antonio Carosella, who owns Pittsburgh Powder Coat on McLaughlin Run Road, wants to launch a business from that same location making and selling “reloaded” ammunition.
Reloading is like the gun world’s version of a recycling program. When a gun is fired, the bullet leaves the barrel, and an empty case is left behind. Carosella would “reload” those empty brass cases with new primers, powder, and bullets, and then sell the ammunition to retail customers.
But first, he needs a permit from the borough allowing him to use part of Pittsburgh Powder Coat’s building to assemble ammunition, which is considered light manufacturing under Bridgeville’s zoning laws. That local government approval is required before the ATF will issue the federal firearms dealer’s license needed to legally sell ammunition.
In addition to reloads, Carosella’s proposed business, called Fully Cocked Ammo, LLC, would also offer new ammunition, and would be licensed to sell firearms, although Carosella said he doesn’t plan to move into gun sales anytime soon.
“I’m probably not going to be doing much of that, but I wanted the license for it anyways,” he told Bridgeville’s planning commission last week.
During a 30-minute discussion, the planning commission’s questions focused on potential safety issues involved with storing ammunition and gunpowder at Pittsburgh Powder Coat.
Bridgeville’s zoning laws allow the borough to set various conditions—in the interest of public safety—before granting the kind of permit that Carosella seeks.
The borough could limit the amount of gunpowder stored on site, for example. Or there be a cap on total ammunition output. Or Bridgeville could require that Fully Cocked Ammo agree periodic no-notice inspections from a fire marshal or similar public safety official.
Carosella said that his reloading operation is currently limited to him, a reloading press, and few eight-pound jugs of smokeless gunpowder. (Depending on the powder, eight pounds might be enough for approximately 2,200 AR-style rifle rounds or 8,000 9mm handgun rounds.)
Bridgeville might already has at a few reloading setups of that size and scale in some residents’ basements and garages. Reloading is legal, after all, but selling ammunition requires a license.
In general, the planning commission seemed receptive to Carosella’s request.
“This is about getting a new small business in town, because that’s how the economy will grow,” said planning commissioner Dale Livingston.
But the planning commission can only make recommendations. The ultimate decision on whether to grant the conditional use permit—and which conditions to attach—will ultimately be made by Bridgeville Borough Council, which could hold a public hearing on the matter as soon as March 8.