MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. - God, guns and education...all three could soon be accessible on one street in Manatee County. That's a result of a proposal to build a gun range right next to an existing church and a school’s outdoor lab, and not everyone is happy about it.
Representatives for both the church and school near the proposed gun range are up in arms, saying that with recent shootings like the one in Newtown, CT, the location of the range shows poor judgment.
“What we received a few days ago was a notice that there would be a shooting range and gun club located .6 miles, which is essentially 3,300 feet, away from our outdoor campus.” Mara Fulk is the principal at the Center Montessori School. She says they have a 10-acre outdoor lab that is used to teach the students science, history, zoology, botany classes.
Now many of those students are worried about their safety and the fact that the gun range will also change the way they learn. “We've had so many good memories there, and it would never be the same if there was a gun range,” says one student.
The proposed Ancient Oak Range and Gun Club will be located in Lakewood Ranch along Uihlein Road, south of State Road 64.
“The land lab, we go out there to be closer to nature. If we have a gun range instead of hearing peaceful birds chirping, you’ll just hear gun shots right next door. It’s pretty ridiculous,” says another student.
Schroeder-Manatee Ranch is behind the proposed Ancient Oak Gun Range and Gun Club. The company refused to comment on camera about the project, but during a public hearing, officials supporting the project did say the students wouldn't be able to hear the gunshots. And since only shotguns will be allowed on the range, they say the possibility of stray ammo ending up near the school is low.
But that isn't good enough for the children at Center Montessori School. “It's not the fact that they are building a gun range, it’s that fact that there are people around with guns,” says one student.