West Palm Beach could soon have a new shooting range and gun shop in a convenient location close to downtown. But Mayor Jeri Mouio was clear that she doesn’t support the idea – because she doesn’t like guns.
In a media briefing on Thursday, Mouio complimented the city’s planning department, saying it makes project recommendations based on code ordinances and standards in a partial and objective manner.
“That doesn’t mean I always agree with their recommendations,” Mouio said. “I don’t like this gun range in our city.”
City planning department staff approved the development in an industrial zone, but construction of the shooting range requires a variance from the Planning Board because the location is within 1,000 feet of nearby homes. Parks do not have such a requirement, but the mayor indicated that after further review, code changes were likely to be considered to address future projects.
“The fact that I don’t support it doesn’t mean that the process is going to be changed,” Mouio said of the current project. “There’s a process to follow.”
Gun rights advocates were quick to note their dismay at the mayor’s comments.
“To deny law-abiding residents access to a range willing to serve them would be discriminatory against those who chose to exercise their constitutional Right to Keep and Bear Arms,” NRA spokeswoman Jacqueline Isaacs said in an email to BizPac Review. “For many, such a facility is a means to obtaining key firearm training and safety information – a benefit to all in the community.”
The mayor admitted that the project is following all the necessary rules.