Debate Sparked over Gun Club Near Osseo High School

Posted at: 06/17/2013 6:45 PM
Updated at: 06/18/2013 7:29 AM
By: Naomi Pescovitz

A proposal to build a gun range near Osseo High School has passed the city's planning commission unanimously.

The gun range has sparked debate between school and city leaders. Some say it will help the local economy, while the district's superintendent is concerned about the proposed location.

The proposed "Osseo Gun Club" would be built less than two blocks from Osseo High School.

About 100 citizens showed up to a meeting Monday night, and 26 spoke during the public input phase. Most who spoke were in favor of allowing the gun range.

"You can look out the second floor window and the first floor window of the high school, straight down the block, where I believe that it's going to be located," said Dr. Kate Maguire, Superintendent of Osseo Area Schools.

According to city documents, Chris Williamson plans to develop the space into a 20-lane indoor shooting range and gun shop. The City of Osseo Planning Commission is reviewing the proposal during a public hearing Monday night.

"It's just the physical presence of the increase in the number of guns within such close proximity to the school, just increases the potential of something occurring that you don't want to occur," Maguire said.

Some city leaders who support the plan say it will help a struggling downtown.

"This is a $3 million development; it's going to bring more people into downtown Osseo that normally wouldn't come here," the city's Economic Development Authority President Kevin Rebman said.

"In the greater component of the community, this is a really big asset for us that's going to help them financially," City Councilmember Dr. Mark Schultz said.

"Sports shooting has taken off so much in the last couple years that it has just become a destination, and there are too few of these places in the metro," Rebman said.

City Council and the Economic Development Authority are expected to take up the proposal next Monday.

If approved, construction could begin as early as July. The gun club could open by the end of the year.