Parents disapprove of having shooting range across from school | News

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Parents disapprove of having shooting range across from school
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JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. -- A local business owner would like to put an indoor pistol range just across the street from a school. But the proposed business is raising concern from parents.

"I believe in the right to bear arms, I just don't want it across the street from the school," said Jessica Dupont.

A proposal for a conditional use permit to put an indoor pistol range in Jacksonville Beach has some firing back.

The potential range would be at 1521 Penman Road, just across the street from the private Montessori Tides School.

"Is there one in the chamber? That's my concern," said Bill Whack.

At a packed planning and zoning meeting tonight, residents, many the parents of children at Montessori Tides, echoed the safety concerns.

"We're putting our children at risk, even if that is a miniscule risk," said Richard Graves.

The developer, Kim Stanley, is in the process of purchasing the property from Atlantic Laser, according to plans submitted to the City of Jacksonville Beach Planning and Zoning.

"I want overall safety," said Stanley. "I want to be prideful and I want everybody to be safe. I want to be proud of the property and know I did the right thing for it."

However, some believe the parking lot, which sits approximately 200 feet from the Montessori Tides school, will be the most dangerous part of the range because of patrons potentially unloading guns before entering.

"I'm not concerned about a stray bullet inside the facility, I'm concerned about a stray bullet outside the facility," said Lori Gaglion.

School owner Brad Hatton is also concerned.

"I haven't seen the numbers of who or how many are coming to this business but I imagine it would be 1,000 to 2,000 a week, something like that. That's 1,000, 2,000 opportunities a week for somebody to have an accident in the parking lot," Hatton said.

Many parents also indicated they will or will consider removing their children from the school if the range is placed across the street.

"I think this gun range is really going to put a hurt on my business," Hatton said.

One person in attendance did speak in favor of the range.

"A safe indoor range like this can be a benefit to the entire community," said Jim Tipton.

But the comments from parents and residents ultimately led Stanley to ask that the vote be deferred until the next meeting.

Stanley said she wants to continue to be a good business owner to the community and wants get answers to the many questions and concerns.

The next planning meeting will be January 14th.

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