Midstate township weighing request for buffer zone between schools and gun shops

  • Rachel McDevitt

(Harrisburg) — A Lancaster County school wants its township board of commissioners to create a buffer zone between it and any gun shops.

Lancaster Country Day School has approached the Manheim Township board of commissioners with a proposal to create a 1,000-foot “gun shop-free school zone” around educational institutions.

It also wants to prohibit signs that promote the use or sale of firearms in the same 1,000-foot area.

Albert Kling, president of the board of commissioners, said the signage proposal raises First Amendment issues as well as a question as to the limit of such rules.

“Someone else can say, ‘well, hey I’m a vegetarian and if McDonald’s puts up a sign showing a hamburger, I’m offended by that,'” he said, as an example.

Kling said he’s been hearing from some residents who support the idea and others who oppose it.

“We are now in the process of performing due diligence to find out for ourselves exactly what is proper and legal,” he said.

Lancaster Country Day School’s request for a buffer zone has been recommended for approval by the township’s zoning board, but the commissioners have the final say.

Controversy over gun stores in the township first emerged about a year and a half ago, after a shop called The Gun Gallery opened near Lancaster Country Day School.

The store has since closed.

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