Parents Fight Gun Range Next to School

On Monday night, Waterbury parents lashed out over plans to build a gun range just a few hundred feet away from Sprague Elementary School.

By Ilana Gold
|  Tuesday, May 22, 2012  |  Updated 10:08 AM EDT
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Parents came to Sprague Elementary School in Waterbury to protest a gun range that might be going in just a few hundred feet away.  There were people from both sides of this issue present at this school as well as the mayor.

Parents came to Sprague Elementary School in Waterbury to protest a gun range that might be going in just a few hundred feet away. There were people from both sides of this issue present at this school as well as the mayor.

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On Monday night, Waterbury parents lashed out over plans to build a gun range just a few hundred feet away from Sprague Elementary School but their protest might not have been enough to stop it.

NBC Connecticut learned the school board could back down on fighting the plan after a nearly a year-long battle with the city.

On Monday, dozens of parents from Sprague Elementary stood their ground outside the proposed site for the gun range and gun shop and fought the gun range that plans to move in next to their kids.

“Not next to a school! Pre-K through fifth grade. Are you kidding me?” one parent questioned.

“The school's mottos are safe, responsible, and respect. What are we teaching them? We're not showing them safety. No respect and no responsibility -- none,” another parent added.

While some parents voiced their own opinions, others added what their children, who are students at Sprague, felt about the gun range.

“She saw this on TV. You know what she said? I'm scared, Dad. And that's coming from an 8-year-old in second grade,” one parent said.

One possible concern is the possible lead poisoning from this proposed business a few hundred feet away.

“What are guns made of? Lead is not OK. Not an ounce of lead is OK for our kids, period,” Lisa Lessard, a community activist, said.

The Board of Education sued the city last summer after it approved zoning for the gun range.

The mayor just brought the leaders to the site and hoped they would think twice about spending thousands of taxpayer dollars on the appeal.

“It's a lot of money and it will be even more money moving forward,” Mayor Neil O’Leary said.

After the leaders saw the property, some of them said stopping the litigation might be a possibility.

“I think it's far enough away from the school where it would not cause students any harm and I think it should go forward,” Jason VanStone said.

While some said this businesses could boost the local economy, parents believed the location couldn’t be worse.

“I’d say total insanity. A gun range should not be put next to a school, period. Put it on the outskirts of Waterbury somewhere else,” Lessard said.

The school board will talk about this during its meeting on Thursday and could make a decision.

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