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Manheim Township postpones vote on banning gun shops within 1,000 feet of schools

SchoolGunFreeZoneS7

The Manheim Township commissioners postponed Monday night's scheduled vote on banning gun shops from operating near schools.

In a 4-1 vote Monday, the commissioners rescheduled the vote on gun-shop-free school zones to Monday, Jan. 27 to allow two newly elected commissioners to participate in the decision.

Democrats Barry Kauffman and Allison Troy won election in November and will take office in January. They are replacing Republicans David Heck and Al Kling, who lost re-election. Kling voted no on rescheduling the vote.

Manheim Twp. official calls private school’s push for gun-shop-free zone a ‘lawsuit magnet’

Commissioner Sam Mecum moved that the vote be postponed. He said the proposed amendment to the zoning ordinance to create gun-shop-free school zones is a significant decision, and the two commissioners-elect should have a say.

If the commissioners approve the buffer zone, it would be a first-of-its-kind action in Lancaster County.

Under the change, no retailer would be permitted to sell firearms within 1,000 feet of any school’s property line.

The proposal also includes banning the placement of signs depicting firearms within the gun-shop-free zones.

Lancaster Country Day School, 725 Hamilton Road, petitioned the township for the special zone and the sign restriction after The Gun Gallery in February 2018 relocated from Millersville to the former Reifsnyder’s piano store at 1020 Dillerville Road, near the school.

The gun shop has since closed, and the property is now part of a proposed diner.

The presence of the shop and its sign, the school said, posed “a constant reminder” to the many students who passed the shop of the threat of school shootings, like the ones in Parkland, Florida, and and West Nickel Mines School in Bart Township.

Country Day said it wanted to foster a learning environment that was as free as possible from the fear of gun violence and to have a neighborhood free of temptations to people who might commit gun crimes.

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A file photo of The Gun Gallery, now closed. It was at 1020 Dillerville Road in Manheim Township. Its proximity to Lancaster Country Day School prompted the school's request for a gun-shop-free zone around all schools.