JACKSONVILLE BEACH Fla.-- The only thing separating Montessori Tides School from a prospective pistol range are the two lanes of Penman Road. The school is 200 ft. from the building the range would open in, and for parents, that's simply not enough space.
"Accidents happen," said Montessor Tides parent Steve Kowkabany. "We're concerned with 2-4,000 people coming to this range per month that an accident can happen and when it does its within a few hundred feet of all of our children."
Two other schools would be within a 1,000 ft radius of the range, including a school for autistic children as well as a Duval public preschool. Florida law says that's perfectly legal, but parents say the rules aren't black and white."
"Theres a federal law prohibiting people with weapons that are not locked up and unloaded and licensed within 1,000 ft of a school zone," said Kowkabany. "They claim they can meet that we think that's very difficult to enforce."
The people who want to open the shooting range acquired a conditional use application, obtained by Action News. In it, they say they are looking for a "safe location for beaches people," pointing out that the next nearest range is 10 miles away. They also propose an "upscale experience," with retail and flat screen TVs.
Kowkabany says he has no problem with the idea of a pistol range, just not right across the street from where he drops off his two-year old every morning.
"I own guns, my wife is a former Marine we shoot guns," he said. "We're all for a gun range at the beach but in a safe location."
Action News has a phone call in to the people proposing the pistol range, but so far there has been no response.
Before the sale can go through, it needs to get past the Jacksonville Beach Planning Board at a public meeting Monday at 7:00 pm, at Jacksonville Beach City Hall.