Parents of Waterbury elementary school students don’t want a firing range next to the school and they held a protest on Thursday morning in an attempt to fight it.
The Waterbury zoning board approved a plan to place an indoor firing range next to Sprague Elementary School. The school and the range will share a driveway and the principal, superintendent and parents of students want to put an end to it.
On Thursday, they rallied, holding signs that said "Keep the Guns Out."
"We, as parents, always tell our students as well as teachers, guns are not OK. They're not toys. Do not play with them. But they're going to put an adult recreational facility next to a school? So your giving our kids a mixed message," Lisa Lessard, of Waterbury, said.
"You never know if a bullet will accidentally come through a wall -- come out and hit one of the kids over here," Brenda Farkash, the parent of a Sprague student, said.
Parents are concerned about children being in the area as people transfer guns from cars to the range. They are also concerned about health concerns from possible lead emissions.
The man who owns the range has assured the city the shooting range will be underground, the walls will be lined with steel plates and it will have a state-of-the-art air handling system.
Those assurances weren't reassuring to the Supt. David Snead, who asked the zoning board to reconsider the approval.
It was also not reassuring for the principal and the school department plans to seek legal recourse and will hire an attorney to appeal of the zoning board's decision in the state Superior Court.
"I worry for the students. I think we'll have to take other precautions," Principal Donna Perreault said.
Gun activists said students will not be in danger.
"Any gun will be in a case or holder on its way into a range. There's more chance of their children getting hurt on city streets," Lenny Benedetto, of the Connecticut Citizens Defense League, said.
In a statement, Mayor Michael Jarjura said the zoning board made the right decision and he is confident that the zoning commission made the appropriate decision.