Taxpayers, students gathered to protest proposed shooting range in Sylvania

Protesters said this was not a gun rights issue, but a location issue.
Published: Jan. 3, 2021 at 3:26 PM EST
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SYLVANIA, Ohio (WTVG) - “Location, location, location” was the reiterated remark from taxpayers and students who gathered to protest a new indoor gun range and store taking the place of the former Andersons Market near the intersection of Sylvania and King.

“There is a fear, element of safety, prices go down, there is a health hazard, there is noise pollution,” voiced Sylvania resident S. Maseeh Rehman.

“I’m concerned about the lead, the arsenic they use in bullets,” said Linda Mowat. “People don’t realize there’s an outpatient psychiatric clinic within a third of a mile from this and there are no regulations on patients with psychiatric issues purchasing a gun.”

Many students said they don’t feel comfortable with don’t the location down the street from Southview High School, fearing a school shooting.

“If something were to happen, we’re so close, we don’t have time to react as much if it were closer to the quarry or outer-Sylvania,” expressed DeNae Bumpus.

Some called out local school officials for not speaking out.

“I haven’t heard from the principal of Southview, I haven’t heard from the Sylvania Board of Education, why should it take the citizens of Sylvania to come out and say this is wrong, and they’re not doing their jobs. That just seems wrong to me,” adds Cameron Mowat.

Those in favor of the new range said they would like a closer place to practice gun safety and shooting skills, and do not believe it poses a threat to the local schools or neighborhoods.

Larry Banachowski says right now he travels to Perrysburg or Maumee, so Midwest Shooting Center would be a welcomed business nearer to his home.

“I think a lot of people are under the misconception it’s going to bring a lot of crime, actually it could probably prevent a lot of crime,” said Banachowski.

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. If you have ill intent you’re going to go out and be ill-intended with anything whether it gun, pencil, rock, whatever,” said a Sylvania woman named Amber, who preferred not to give her last name. “If you want to hurt somebody you’re going to hurt somebody that’s the end of it I want people here to teach people how to use guns the correct way.”

The owner of Midwest Shooting Center, David Sabo, sent this statement to 13abc Sunday afternoon, the same remarks had been published by the Lucas County Libertarian Party of Ohio earlier on their Facebook page, asking people to refrain from counter-protesting.

We appreciate the outpouring of support and willingness to be outspoken on our behalf.

That said, our request would be to cancel the counter-protest this afternoon. First, generally, I think this is being taken as a gun control protest. That is not what this is.

To catch everyone up, Midwest Shooting Center has requested a special use permit to operate an indoor range located at the former Anderson’s. While the zoning is appropriate to retail firearms and accessories, a permit is needed for the range operation.

This process started back in late September. During this time Sylvania residents have been able to voice questions, concerns, support, and opposition to Sylvania City Officials. City Officials have done a great job sifting through all of the information being provided to them to discern whether or not this will be supported through a City Council vote.

We believe that the city had a firm grasp on the project and we will support whatever the outcome may be. Creating a big, noisy, event today is only going to add potential difficulties to their jobs.

If you feel compelled to voice support we encourage everyone to keep reaching out to us. The support we have felt through this process is unparalleled in any business endeavor we have ever been a part of and it’s been enjoyable getting to know everyone. Have a great Sunday with your families everyone!

-Dave Sabo, Midwest Shooting Center

Sylvania City Council is set to vote on a Special Zoning Permit for Midwest Shooting Center Monday night at 7:30 p.m.

This follows a public hearing held on the issue last month, and multiple petitions in favor and against the range.

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