Gun store allowed to open inside "gun-free" school zone

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

In most states, there’s a radius around a school where you can’t take a gun. For some, that radius is really just the property line. For others, it’s a bit further out.

But what happens when someone tries to put in a gun store inside that “further out” zone?

Well, some people are less than thrilled by the idea.

A gun store is being allowed to set up shop near Karcher Middle School, despite concerns about circulating firearms close to the school and a child care center.

A divided Burlington Plan Commission has given store operator Roy Christensen the green light to start selling guns in a former pharmacy at 300 S. Pine St.

The location is about one block away from both Karcher Middle School and the Plymouth Children’s Center.

Exemption makes store legal

 

Two members of the plan commission, as well as a schoolteacher, voiced opposition to the new store, and they questioned how a firearms dealership could operate in a gun-free school zone.

The law on gun-free school zones restricts carrying any firearm within 1,000 feet of a school. However, gun stores themselves are exempt.

And honestly, if there weren’t an exemption, there sure as hell should be.

The purpose of these zones, in theory, is to keep guns out of schools. Gun stores and their customers aren’t going to walk into the school and open fire.

Of course, gun-free schools zones don’t seem to be doing a whole hell of a lot to stop that kind of thing anyway, but that’s a discussion for another day.

However, there are laws in Wisconsin for gun stores in such an area. Normally, the gun has to be unloaded and inside of a locked case.

Some, however, don’t think that’s enough.

Plan Commission member Art Gardner said he has “no confidence” that Christensen’s customers would comply with the law every time. Gardner also said allowing gun sales near a school or child care center involves taking chances.

“There’s a risk,” he said. “And we all know that.”

No, there really isn’t.

First, almost every gun store I’ve been in requires a gun you’re bringing in to be unloaded anyway, so the law just codifies something many gun stores already do.

Second, if someone forgets to use a locking case, guess what? Nothing is going to happen. Yes, they’re not complying with the law and if they’re caught failing to comply they’ll face criminal charges, but what they don’t represent is a threat.

Frankly, I’m more than a little sick of people like Gardner who seem to think that they can act like lawful gun owners represent some grave threat to humanity when you have a lot more mass shootings at schools than at gun stores.

Unfortunately, that’s not likely to change anytime soon. After all, with a steady media diet of doom-and-gloom about guns and the people who own them, is it any wonder that a gun store would generate controversy?

It’s a shame, but what it’s not is anything approaching a threat to anyone.

Jul 03, 2022 8:30 AM ET