A new gun store opening fewer than 100 yards from Manor Middle School in Killeen has been a hot topic online.
Many people, including parents of students, said Marksmen Firearms, 2103 S. WS Young Drive, poses no higher risk than a liquor store or a gas station.
“The owner has the choice to allow them (children) or deny them entry without a legal parent or guardian,” said resident Andrea Forte. “The opportunity for them to purchase is not even an option. It is more likely the students will pay off an adult to purchase alcohol or cigarettes from the convenience store located closer to the school.”
Others in gun-friendly Texas said its a nonissue.
“I don’t have a problem with a gun store across the street from a schoolhouse,” said Greg Noller, of Fort Hood.
While many others voiced similar sentiments online, some felt concerned about a gun store being so close to the school.
“I’m a little upset that whoever backed up the owner would think it was cute to put a gun store across from a middle school,” said Treasure Neal, who has a sister who goes to Manor Middle School. “Do these people want us to kill each other? With all the gun killings going on, why would you even bring another gun store into Killeen? I guess its because of the money. Seems like those who support this store don’t care about the lives being lost.”
Annie Thornhill, another local resident, said she’s concerned that silencers may be tested on the premises of the store, which could lead to safety issues for students at Manor.
“I was formerly employed by the parent company of the gun store opening across from your local school,” Thornhill said. “Parents should be concerned.”
She said it is common for similar gun stores to test guns and silencers outside.
The company said it won’t allow guns to be shot on the premises.
There is no current law that prohibits gun retail stores from being in proximity to school zones in the state of Texas.
“Marksmen Firearms is proud to be afforded the privilege to serve the residents of Killeen, Harker Heights, Copperas Cove and surrounding communities,” said a news release from the gun store’s public relations department. “Marksmen looks forward to being a good neighbor, and a partner with police, sportsmen, hunters, and anyone else interested in personal protection. Marksmen intends to provide quality service and products, with a goal of enhancing awareness of gun safety, and responsible gun ownership. Marksmen will offer firearms training and licensing courses to those interested in furtherance of these goals.”
The company said it is within all federal, state and local laws and plans to educate customers on the laws of carrying guns legally.
Killeen Independent School District also has heard some complaints about the store.
“A parent recently expressed a concern regarding the opening of a new gun store in proximity to Manor Middle School,” the district said in a statement. “After researching the matter, no laws were identified restricting the location of gun stores/dealers in proximity to schools.”
KISD went on to say: “No faculty members have raised concerns to the knowledge of district administration. The Killeen Independent School District is committed to ensuring the safety of our students and staff, and we will continue to implement appropriate procedures and protocol.”
While some parents seem concerned about gun access so close to the school, many people on the Herald’s Facebook page said there is no issue at hand currently.
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