Should gun shops be allowed at Jacksonville Beach

Jacksonville Beach City Council considers zoning proposal

By Ashley Mitchem - Reporter, anchor, Erik Avanier - Reporter

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. - The Jacksonville Beach City Council held a meeting at City Hall on Monday to discuss whether to approve a plan that would put a facility to manufacture and sell firearms should be allowed within the city limits.

Currently, there are no gun stores in the immediate area of the beach town, so the City Council would have to change zoning rules to allow it.

The facility, owned by David Dick, would be located at Coastal Heating and Cooling and would be about one half-mile from an elementary school.

Under the current city code, firearm stores are allowed in commercial zoning but are not allowed to manufacture firearms. During the meeting, News4Jax learned that gun manufacturing can also be defined as altering or repairing a weapon and not necessarily building guns.

This isn’t the first time the city has discussed zoning for gun facilities at Jacksonville Beach. In 2013, a businessman wanted to open a gun range that would have been across the street from a school, but the Planning Commission voted it down.

When all was said and done, several people who voiced concerns about the proposal changed their stance on the issue.

“There was just a lot of what if questions that no one could answer, so I thought I needed to come and ask those,” Jacksonville Beach resident Shandy Thompson said. “I feel better. I’m actually OK with it. I agree with the conditions. I feel like it’s responsible. I also learned some things. I didn’t realize a manufacturer meant ‘My trigger’s too stiff. Can you please fix this?’”

The council voted in favor of a conditional use, which means the issue will now go to a second public hearing before final approval from the council.

“I think it’s getting rid of the misinformation,” Dick said. “So many people want to provide misinformation and bad facts, or no facts. It’s fake news. They just make it up as they go along, so presenting the real side of this, and real facts, is what got it passed.”

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