The Petal Board of Aldermen has granted a special exemption that will allow firearm manufacturing at Aldape Design at 804 South Main Street in Petal.
The decision was made at the Aug. 17 board meeting, where aldermen voted to allow the design and manufacture of .22 pistols at the machine shop, which has been in business in the city for approximately eight years.
“It’ll be an semi-automatic to automatic pistol,” shop owner Dave Schoenfeld said. “It’s a small, compact, .22 caliber. We’ve got a long way to go (before we can get started on it), but that’s the desire.
“There’s not much manufacturing in Petal, but I have a machine shop, and my background is in mechanical engineering. There’s a lot of little mechanisms and parts in a pistol, and we just wanted to try to build one for fun and be legal about it.”
If all goes according to plan, Schoenfeld will sell the firearms through a distributor upon completion.
“I’d just as soon go through a regular gun outlet and sell it to them, and then people buy it from them,” he said. “We’re starting on it pretty soon, but we have other work that’s actually building revenue right now, so that takes precedent.
“We hope to be able to have something by the first of the year; that’ll be an early prototype.”
Mayor Tony Ducker said the board has granted similar exemptions to a couple of organizations in the past.
“They basically need something from us like this to be able to get their firearm license from the (federal government),” he said. “It’ll say manufacturing, but there’s a lot of things that will fall under that.
“(For example), even if you do engraving, that’s considered manufacturing. So it’s not going to be like a Remington or Winchester store; he just wanted to add this to the business that he was already doing."
Schoenfeld graduated from the University of Illinois in 1974, at which point he began working as a design/manufacturing engineer. He started Aldape Design in Boise, Idaho to manufacture trail running shoes with a carbon fiber sole to control flexing when running on rocky mountain trails.
The shop currently boasts such equipment as a Torch CNC Milling Machine, an FS Laser - 90 Watt CO2 Laser, a Form Labs SLA Style 3D printer and a small lathe.
Schoenfeld's curent project, the PortaMed, is described as a “revolutionary method to deliver medication to patients.”
“We do a lot of modifications for Howard Medical (Technology Solutions in Jones County),” Schoenfeld said. “It’s basically a machine shop with CNC machines - milling machines and lathes. So we modify and update a few parts for Howard Medical."
For more information, visit www.aldapedesign.com.